Mar. - April - North Texas Catholic


Mar. - April - North Texas Catholic
Bringing the Good News to the Diocese of Fort Worth
Vol. 31 No. 2
March / April 2015
With God’s grace, we travel together
through Lent to the glory of Easter
Be merciful, O Lord,
for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God
in your goodness;
in the greatness
of your compassion
wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me
from my guilt
and of my sin
cleanse me.
Opening Responsorial Psalm
for Ash Wednesday
Psalm 51:3-4
In This Issue...
Rachel Ministries, which invites those
involved in abortions to accept the love
and mercy of God, is sponsoring three
performances of Faustina: Messenger of
Divine Mercy.
encouraged Catholics to carry out their
baptismal call by being empowered by
the Holy Spirit to begin God's mission,
just as Jesus did after his baptism.
Our reporter Susan Moses had a great
idea: Why not track a day in the life of
the diocese’s seminarians? And here’s
what it looks like: a mix of prayer,
study, fellowship, service, and even
regular chores.
That was the common thread that
united a pro-life march to the Capitol
in Austin, one in Dallas to the Earle
Cabell Courthouse where Roe v. Wade
was first filed, and a Mass honoring the
aborted unborn at St. Patrick Cathedral.
Newly named pastor Fr. Richard
Kirkham celebrated his first Mass with
the newly named St. Martin de Porres
Parish, meeting at Frisco’s Purefoy
Elementary School on Feb. 8.
Only eight Missionary Catechists of the
Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary are
working here, but their involvement
in catechesis, social ministry, and
Hispanic Pastoral Ministry makes it
seem like there are more.
Cover Photo: NTC photographer Juan Guajardo
captured this image of a young girl receiving ashes
on Ash Wednesday, at St. Maria Goretti Church.
Easter will be celebrated April 5 this year.
The kickoff event for the diocese’s
observance of the Year of Consecrated
Life, a Vespers service at St. Patrick
Cathedral Feb. 6, drew more than
200 religious, diocesan priests, and
seminarians and a similar number of
laity to honor those who have chosen
to give their lives in service to God and
others in these committed ways.
En esta edición del North Texas Catholic
usted encontrará perfiles de las Misioneras Catequistas de los Sagrados Corazones de Jesús y María y de los Palotinos, la columna del Padre Mele para
que nuestra experiencia Cuaresmal sea
más positiva, y un relato del inicio de
la observancia del Año de la Vida Consagrada en nuestra diócesis. La nuestra
se une a todo un año de celebraciones
en el mundo en honor a los sacrificios
de estos santos hombres y mujeres.
Likes to be called, quite simply, ‘Father
Joe.’ Our reporter, Joan Kurkowski Gillen,
found his parishioners at Most Blessed
Sacrament Church in Arlington used a
string of adjectives in her interviews to
describe the humble man: personable,
funny, welcoming, engaging, gentle, and
there’s that word again: humble. He’s also
a man with a passion for baseball.
Bishop Olson is asking us to be
involved in Texas government
Bishop Michael Olson
DIRECTOR: Pat Svacina
EDITOR: Jeff Hensley
Judy Russeau
Chris Kastner
Michele Baker
Crystal Brown
Jenara Kocks Burgess
Jaqueline Burkepile
Jerry Circelli
Juan Guajardo
Kathy Cribari Hamer
Joan Kurkowski-Gillen
Michael McGee
Susan Moses
Wendy Pandolfo
Nicki Prevou
Donna Ryckaert
Mary Lou Seewoester
Brian Smith
Reyna Castelan
Denise Bossert
Jean Denton
Kathy Cribari Hamer
Marlon De La Torre
Jeff Hedglen
Jeff Hensley
Fr. Carmen Mele, OP
David Mills
Mary Regina Morrell
Sharon K. Perkins
Fr. James Wilcox
Editorial Office: 800 West
Loop 820 S., Fort Worth,
Texas 76108, (817) 560-3300;
FAX (817) 244-8839.
Circulation Office: Pam Quattrochi, 800 West Loop 820
S., Fort Worth, Texas 76108,
(817) 560-3300.
Newsmagazine (USPS
751-370) (ISSN 0899-7020)
is published bi-monthly plus
one special issue in January
by the Most Rev. Michael F.
Olson, Bishop of the Diocese
of Fort Worth, 800 W. Loop
820 S., Fort Worth, Texas
76108. For those who are
not registered parishioners
in the Diocese of Fort Worth,
subscription rates are $18 for
one year, $35 for two years,
$50 for three years. Periodical
postage paid at Fort Worth,
Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to North Texas
Catholic, 800 W. Loop 820 S.,
Fort Worth, Texas 76108.
Deadline for information for
the North Texas Catholic is
noon of the Wednesday two
weeks before the paper is
published. The NTC is published bi-monthly, the third
Friday of the month, with
the following two months as
the date of each issue.
To access current news and
information, find us at www.
The appearance of advertising in these pages does not
imply endorsement of businesses, services, or products.
Readers must exercise
prudence in responding to
advertising in all media.
ishop Olson’s interest in public issues isn’t limited to those
we often refer to as the “life issues,” though he is certainly
both interested in those issues and in demand as an ethicist.
Bishop Olson outlined a broad range of issues likely to come
before our state Legislature in a recent letter he wrote to pastors:
“Crucial issues such as protecting human life, children and families, health and human services, justice for immigrants, protecting the poor and vulnerable, and criminal justice will be before
members of the Legislature.”
And, he said “Through the Texas Catholic Conference, the
bishops of Texas have adopted an ‘Agenda for the 85th Texas
Legislative Session.’”
He then referenced the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
teaching document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, with its focus on the political responsibility of Catholics.
As part of that exercise of their responsibility to engage in
civil dialogue, Bishop Olson says the Texas Catholic bishops will
be active in the upcoming legislative session.
One way the bishops will seek to exercise a Catholic influence
on public policy in the state is by taking part in their Advocacy
Day at the Capitol in Austin on March 24 with their teams of
advocates, where they will demonstrate, in visits with each
member of the Legislature, that Catholics in Texas are indeed
engaged in the public square.
Our bishop also urges the Catholic faithful to inform themselves by becoming members of the Texas Catholic Conference
Network. As he describes it, “The network provides eNewsletter
alerts, news updates, and more on policy issues affecting the Catholic faithful and of concern to the Texas Catholic bishops. I pray
that as many as possible of our families ... will join the Network to
support the efforts of Texas Bishops before the Legislature.”
Becoming a member of the Texas Catholic Network is a
simple matter. If you want to respond to his request, go to the
Texas Catholic Conference website and click on the button in
the upper left corner of the home page, with the words “Join the
Texas Catholic Network.” That will take you to a set of dialogue
boxes asking for your name, address, and such. If you’re willing,
you can become a member of the Texas Catholic Network and
stay informed on issues of importance to Catholics in our state.
Jeff Hensley
North Texas Catholic Brothers for Christ invites
Catholic men to take up the ‘Sword of the Spirit’ for Christ
By Jerry Circelli
Hurst ConferCenter was filled
nearly to capacity Feb.
7, when 750 men from 124 area
parishes gathered there for the
North Texas Catholic Brothers
for Christ Men’s Conference. Its
theme was based on the Battle
against Evil from (Ephesians 6:17)
— “And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the Word of God.”
The 2015 event marked
the fourth annual gathering of
Catholic men brought together by
the North Texas Catholic Brothers
for Christ — a non-profit lay
ministry. Organized by 50 men on a
leadership team, there are no formal
membership requirements.
Each conference is designed to
help men encounter Christ through
Eucharistic Adoration, Benediction, the Rosary, Reconciliation, and
celebration of Mass.
Speakers at this year’s conference included, Fort Worth Bishop
Michael Olson; Father Larry Richards, Catholic author and EWTN
radio host; Tom Peterson, president
of Catholics Come Home; and
Michael Coren, Catholic columnist,
author, radio personality, and television host.
Opening the daylong conference, Bishop Olson focused on the
topic of discipleship, which he said
involves a call, accompaniment, and
To illustrate his message, the
bishop cited Mark and his writing
about the transfiguration of Jesus
in (Mark 9: 2-10). Similar to Peter,
James, and John who were with
Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, we are each called by name
into a relationship with Christ, the
bishop said. “We hear our name and
his call, and its expectations gradually become clear,” Bishop Olson said.
The early disciples could not
yet fathom what life after death
meant, but had to have faith in
the Lord, as we do, for things they
could not understand. Similarly for
us, faith involves constantly being
attentive to God’s call in our lives
and staying faithful as a flock of the
Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, the
bishop said.
Following Bishop Olson, Fr.
Larry Richards asked the multitude
of men gathered to hold up their
Bibles. As might be expected, not
many Bibles were raised. Fr. Richards told the men to obtain a Bible
and to carry it around with them.
He said they should start and end
each day by reading it. He reminded
the men of the words of St. Jerome,
who said, “Ignorance of Scripture is
ignorance of Christ.”
Secondly, Fr. Richards told the
men that they should pray each day
in order to encounter a living God
and to help their own families.
Thirdly, he told the men to surrender their lives to the Holy Spirit,
emphasizing that it is God’s Spirit
inside of us that is most important.
“Our job is to surrender, so people no
longer see us, they see Jesus Christ living inside of us….,” the priest said.
Reciting the
Rosary was
one of many
ways men
Christ during
the recent
Finally, Fr. Richards said, men
must do as Jesus instructed in (John
13:34), “I give you a new commandment: Love one another. As I have
loved you, so you also should love
one another.”
Tom Peterson, founder of
Catholics Come Home, also spoke.
His apostolate has found creative
and compelling ways to bring people
closer to their Catholic faith.
Referring to St. John Paul II as
“the Godfather of the New Evangelization,” Peterson said the pope
asked us to evangelize “with new
expressions, new methods, and new
courage.” Peterson said it is a critical
time to follow the saint’s call. “Only
six percent of the people in United
States are faithful, practicing Catholics,” Peterson said. And of the 24
percent of the U.S. population that
is Catholic, only one in four goes to
Mass each Sunday.
“We have an epidemic in the
faith and we need more than ever to
evangelize the world,” Peterson said.
The final speaker, Michael
Coren, told those gathered to always
maintain a strong relationship with
the Church, no matter what negative
personal experience they might have
with individuals.
He ended the conference with
a story about St. Thomas More, a
16th Century English lawyer and
statesman. More would not support
the king’s divorce and remarriage.
Neither would he acknowledge the
king as supreme head of the Church
in England, his separation from the
Catholic Church, and his denial of
the pope as its head.
For standing by his Church and
his faith, More was tried for treason,
convicted, and beheaded. Near his
death, More was ridiculed and told
that he was not in the majority. To
that, Coren said, More responded
that if the doors, windows, and gates
of paradise opened up behind him,
people would see that he was, in fact,
in the majority of those in heaven.
“Every time you feel alone, persecuted, betrayed, and that you’ve
had enough, please remind yourself
of the best of the world who are with
God right now,” Coren said.
Clergy Assignments for the Diocese of Fort Worth
by Most Rev. Michael F. Olson, JCD, MA
Rev. Richard Kirkham is appointed Pastor of St.
Martin de Porres Parish in Prosper (new parish),
effective February 2, 2015.
Rev. Matthew Sanka, SAC, upon presentation of his
religious superior, is appointed Parish Administrator
of St. Brendan Parish in Stephenville and associated
parishes, effective February 2, 2015.
Rev. John Karanja, SAC, upon presentation of his
religious superior, is appointed Parish Administrator of St. Stephen Parish, Weatherford, effective
February 2, 2015.
Rachel Ministries' training in Tulsa
continues its healing ministry
By Michele Baker
­ Last week, Betsy
Kopor, Rachel Ministries Coordinator
for the Diocese of Fort Worth, quietly
packed her things and prepared to head
to Oklahoma. Catholic Charities in
Tulsa had invited members of the Rachel
Ministries staff from the Diocese of Fort
Worth to do a training day for volunteers
planning an outreach to Hispanics.
Part of the Respect Life office for the
Diocese of Fort Worth, Rachel Ministries
refers to a range of pastoral care options
offered to those seeking spiritual and
emotional recovery after abortion. Each
year Rachel Ministries in this diocese
hosts six Rachel’s Vineyard weekends:
two in Spanish, two in English; and
two interdenominational. Beyond the
retreats, the diocese has licensed counselors, peer support, and other support
groups for those who need them.
Over the years the Diocese of
Fort Worth has built a reputation for
providing excellent opportunities for
instruction. The diocese hosted training conferences in 2009 and 2012
specifically for those who minister to
people seeking recovery after abortion.
A typical training session provides gen-
eral information about how abortion
affects people and how to help people
begin the healing process. Sessions are
also designed around the needs of a
broad range of people: laity, pregnancy
center volunteers, clergy, and licensed
“The abortion industr y tells
women that having an abortion is no
big deal,” said Kopor. “But the truth
is a lot of women are desperate to
heal. Most of what’s out there denies
their pain. It doesn’t help. What we
do helps foster awareness about how
abortion hurts.”
Even with more than 57 million
abortions performed in the United States
alone since 1973, compassionate recovery
programs and services for post-abortive
women are still rare. For this reason,
those involved in Rachel Ministries in
the Diocese of Fort Worth are committed to continuing their own education.
“One of our goals is to be up-to-date
because it is an up-and-coming area,”
says Kopor.
She and her team of ministers see
themselves as simply facilitating an encounter with the ultimate Healer.
“We set the stage and allow God to
do the work,” she said.
Rachel Ministries to sponsor
Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy
By Nicki Prevou
FORT WORTH — Rachel Ministries,
a compassionate, faith-based abortion recovery ministry, is spreading the message
of God’s forgiveness to the Diocese of
Fort Worth through “Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy,” a live multimedia
Created by Saint Luke Productions,
the drama depicts the spirit and life of Saint
Faustina Kowalska, the Polish mystic who
kept a diary of her personal encounters with
Jesus, thus inspiring a worldwide devotion
to Christ’s Divine Mercy.
Local performances of the presentation
will be held Wednesday, March 25, at 7:30
p.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 861
Wildwood Lane, Grapevine; Saturday,
March 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Our Lady Queen
of Peace Church, 4040 York Street, Wichita
Falls; and Sunday, March 29 at 7 p.m.
at St. Patrick Cathedral Pastoral Center,
1300 Throckmorton Street, Fort Worth.
For Jared Zimmerer, who serves as
director of adult catechesis and evangelization at St. Francis Church in Grapevine,
the production is a contemporary way of
sharing the Divine Mercy message —
particularly with the youth of the diocese.
“We, as a people, are deeply in need of
Faustina will be a multimedia presentation. (Illustration courtesy of Saint
Luke Productions)
mercy,” said Zimmerer. “This is a creative
and meaningful way to bring people into
the beauty of the Divine Mercy…"
Tickets to each show are $8 for adults
and $5 for those 17 and under. The
production is suitable for adults and
for youth ages 13 and up. Additional
performances will be offered by St. Catherine of Siena Church in Carrollton on
March 20, and at St. Philip the Apostle
Church in Lewisville on March 24. For
a complete schedule of performances or
more information, visit or www.fwdioc.
org, or call 817-945-9360.
Diocese names Jennifer Pelletier as new Catholic Schools superintendent
FORT WORTH — Bishop Michael F.
Olson announced Jan. 23 that he has
appointed Fort Worth native Jennifer R.
Pelletier as the superintendent of schools
for the diocese. Pelletier will assume her
duties on July 1.
Pelletier currently is president of St.
Joseph Catholic School in Bryan, Texas.
“It is very exciting to be able to
work so closely with Bishop Olson
and Father (Karl) Schillken,” Pelletier
said. “Their love and dedication to
Catholic education is apparent and vitally
important to the growth of the Catholic
Diocese of Fort Worth.
The Fort Worth
“Although I will
Diocese’s Catholic school
be saddened to leave
system consists of 5,800
my Br ya n/College
students, 505 faculty,
Station community, the
four high schools, and 17
chance to work with
elementary schools in the
the principals in the
28 North Texas counties
Fort Worth Diocese is
the diocese serves.
exciting," she continued.
Pelletier attended
Jennifer Pelletier
“ They have already
Catholic schools in our
shown themselves to possess a great love diocese through eighth grade. She is a
for their communities, and I cannot wait graduate of Arlington Heights High School.
to be a resource and support for them as
She earned a Bachelor of Arts in
they lead their schools.” English Literature in 1995 and a Master’s
in Education in 2002, both from the
University of Dallas in Irving.
Pelletier began her education career in
1999 and has taught at St. Luke Catholic
School in Dallas, and St. John’s College
High School in Washington D.C. She
left St. John’s in 2011 to join the staff of
St. Joseph Catholic School and became
president in 2013.
Ms. Pelletier is the daughter of Chuck
and Pat Pelletier, long time leaders in the
diocese’s pro-life community. She has an
older sister, three younger brothers, and
14 nieces and nephews.
‘A League of Their Own’
Catholic education celebrates its dedication
By Joan Kurkowski-Gillen
Students from Wichita Falls’
Notre Dame School, grades preK through 12, lined up on the
school’s football field Jan. 30
and launched 250 helium-filled
balloons into a blustery sky. Attached to each blue and gold inflatable, was a note publicizing Catholic
Schools Week and a Scripture passage. Their goal: evangelization.
Two days later, a farmer from
Wilson, Oklahoma called Notre
Dame to say one of the balloons landed
70 miles away in his pasture. “He
thanked us for the Scripture reading,”
said Matthew Ledesma, director of
enrollment. “The mission of Catholic
schools is to spread the Good News.”
Fort Worth Bishop Michael
Olson discussed the important role
Catholic Schools play in evangelization during his keynote given
at the 28th annual Celebration of
Catholic Schools dinner Jan. 31 in
the Fort Worth Convention Center
Ballroom. The fundraiser, attended
by 550 people, culminated Catholic
Schools Week and associated special
activities organized for students in
the diocese.
The bishop drew attention to
pioneers in Catholic education who
opened institutions in the diocese
to share their faith in Jesus and his
Church. He spoke particularly of
the role of the Sisters of St. Mary of
Namur “who illustrate how the mission of evangelization and Catholic
education go hand in hand.” The
crowd of Catholic school supporters applauded their appreciation
after hearing how Nolan Catholic, Notre Dame, Bishop Dunne,
and the University of Dallas were
founded thanks to the commitment
and generosity of the religious order
whose sisters arrived in Texas to open
schools 142 years ago.
“Mission must always drive our
institutions and keep them alive,”
the bishop added. “Our identity as
Catholic schools comes from our
‘yes’ to Christ to accompany Him
in his mission….
“This solidarity requires that we
care for each other and that we are
grateful for the opportunity to sacrifice in many ways for the education
that always shows us Jesus,” he said.
Catholic schools are vital to a
society that must understand the
dignity of the human person and
the value of disenfranchised and
vulnerable people. “We have a call
to serve God and our neighbor in
love, which is Christ’s mission to
establish the Kingdom of God here,
so we might be prepared to flourish in the Kingdom yet to come,”
he explained.
Held each year since 1987, the
Celebration of Catholic Schools
raises money for the Bishop’s Scholars Fund and recognizes the achievements and dedication of individuals
who support Catholic education.
Retired school Superintendent Don
P. Miller was presented the 2015
Diocesan Leadership Award from
Bishop Olson for a career in Catholic
schools that spanned nearly 50 years.
The Iowa native attended Catholic
schools, then returned to serve the
ministry as a teacher, coach, principal, president, and superintendent.
For the past 10 years, he worked
to stabilize enrollment rates and
school finances as superintendent
of Catholic Schools for the Diocese
of Fort Worth.
“I feel terribly unworthy. There
are so many people who have done
so much more than me,” Miller told
Page 6
the North Texas Catholic.
All of Miller’s nine children
were educated in Catholic schools,
and seven were present at the dinner
to see their father honored.
“Since I was 14-years-old, all
I ever wanted to be was a Catholic
school teacher,” he continued.
Also recognized during the dinner were honorees from each of the
20 schools in the diocese. Receiving
an award for their dedication and
unwavering support were Danny
Arriaga, All Saints; Priscilla Harrier,
Cassata; Ann Beckel, Holy Cross;
Mary Salerno, Holy Family; Shelly
Hickman, Holy Trinity; Joseph
Ketchum, Immaculate Conception;
Paul Combest, Nolan; Cathy McElroy, Notre Dame; Sandra Brophy
Jenkins, Our Lady of Victory; Art
& Cynthia Sanford, Our Mother of
Mercy; Stacie Miller, Sacred Heart;
Maria Gonzalez, St. Andrew; Kim
Chiapetta, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton;
Mary Longoria, St. George; Janie
Ruppel, St. John the Apostle; Judy
Gavin, St. Joseph; Chris Abbott, St.
Maria Goretti; Rae Ann Gerken, St.
Mary’s; Diana Yandell, St. Peter the
Apostle, and Mary Burns, St. Rita.
Inspired by the evening’s theme
“Catholic Schools: A League of
Their Own,” banquet tables sported
boxes of Cracker Jacks, peanuts,
baseballs, and trading cards printed
with the images of school honorees.
Nolan theater students, who performed a baseball skit, provided
Prior to entering the ballroom,
guests watched performances by St.
Joseph violin players and the fourth
grade choir from St. Andrew School.
Artwork from schools across the
diocese was also on display.
FOX Sports anchor John Rhadigan served as master of ceremonies and
captured the lighthearted mood of the
occasion with a customized version
of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
“Tonight reaffirms our schools’
commitments to be communities
where each member encounters the
love and truth of our living God,”
he enthused to the audience. “In
Catholic schools, God is spoken
every day in every class to every
kid, and that’s why we’re here — to
celebrate Catholic education.”
Pictures of the Catholic Schools banquet are
available for viewing on the NTC website at: Click on the
“Photo Gallery” tab at the top of the website.
Theater students from Nolan Catholic High School perform a baseball skit at the annual Celebration of Catholic Schools dinner. Pictured are Jack Diseker, Aaron Gendron,
Kevin Sweeney, and Lexie Garrett. Not pictured: Ben Wagner.
North Texas Catholic
March / April 2015
Diocesan Job Openings
Safe Environment Coordinator
Diocese of Fort Worth, Catholic Center
and the Office of Catholic Schools.
The successful candidate will be a practicing Roman
Catholic in good standing with the Church. Bilingual
English/Spanish skills are required. A bachelor’s degree
in theology, education, child development or related
field is required. Two years of previous experience
as a Safe Environment trainer or coordinator at a
parish is preferred. Three years of previous experience
in compliance program administration is preferred.
Dynamic communication and presentation skills
are required. Computer literacy, including database
management, Microsoft Office and internet research
skills are required. This position requires travel to
parishes and schools in the Diocese of Fort Worth, and
some weekend and evening work is required. A complete
list of responsibilities and qualifications can be found
online at
The Diocese of Fort Worth offers an excellent
compensation and benefits package to employees,
including medical/dental/vision insurance, short-term
and long-term disability, life insurance, and a pension
plan. Qualified candidates should submit three items
to [email protected]: an updated resume,
a cover letter explaining interest in this position
(bilingual cover letters encouraged), and a completed
job application. This position will be open until filled.
Assistant Editor and Content Specialist, North
Texas Catholic Newsmagazine, Catholic Center
in good standing who embraces the teaching of the Catholic
Church. A bachelor’s degree in communications, English,
journalism or related field is required. A minimum of
five years of experience working for a digital or print
publication with editorial and layout responsibilities is
required. Previous experience with Catholic media is
preferred. Desired technical abilities include social media
management (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.), MS
Office, and In-Design layout software. Ability to write,
edit and proofread in English is required. Spanish language
capabilities are a plus, but not required. Travel is required
for this position, as well as some weekend and evening
work. A complete list of responsibilities and qualifications
can be found online at
The Diocese of Fort Worth offers an excellent
compensation and benefits package to employees,
including medical/dental/vision insurance, short-term
and long-term disability, life insurance and a pension
plan. Qualified candidate should submit four items
to [email protected]: an updated resume,
a cover letter explaining interest in this position, a
completed job application and a sample of a previously
published news article written by candidate. This position
will be open until filled.
Audit Committee and Finance Council as appropriate.
The qualified candidate will be a practicing Catholic,
The Diocese of Fort Worth is currently seeking an in good standing and actively participating in a parish. internal auditor to join our finance team. This position CIA (Certified Internal Auditor) Certification is strongly
will travel throughout the diocese to audit parishes, preferred. Bilingual Spanish/English skills (written and
schools and other entities to ensure compliance with ap- spoken) strongly preferred. Other qualifications include,
plicable federal, state, and local laws, as well as internal two to five years of previous experience in accounting,
accounting and administrative policies and procedures. internal audit or compliance audit. Bachelor’s degree
The Auditor will prepare reports and present audit in accounting, business or related field. Knowledge
findings to the Pastor/Principal and to the Diocesan of Microsoft Office products, including Quickbooks,
Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. This position is based out of the Catholic Center in
Fort Worth, but requires extensive travel throughout the
diocese. The successful candidate must have reliable
transportation, valid driver’s license and auto liability
insurance. Mileage is reimbursed.
For a full job description, please view the full position
posting on Interested candidates should send a cover letter, application
and resume to [email protected].
The Diocese of Fort Worth is seeking a Director
of Safe Environment to join the team at the Catholic
Center. This position reports to the Director of Human
Resources, and ensures that the diocese complies with the
requirements of the USCCB Charter for the Protection
of Children and Young People. The Director of Safe
Environment will plan, implement and monitor the
training and background checks of all clergy, employees,
and volunteers who minister and work in the diocese.
The position works collaboratively with Human
Resources, Youth Ministry, Children’s Catechesis
The Diocese of Fort Worth is seeking an Assistant
Editor and Content Specialist to join the team of the
North Texas Catholic Newsmagazine. This position will
work under the direction of the Editor to oversee and
execute both print and digital media efforts. The Assistant
Editor works collaboratively with Pastors, Parishes and
other Catholic and community organizations to ensure
accurate and timely reporting of news of interest to or
affecting the diocese.
The successful applicant must be a practicing Catholic
Internal Auditor
Diocese of Fort Worth, Catholic Center
2015, The Year of Consecrated Life
Celebration honors those who serve Christ,
welcomes others to be attentive to God’s call
‘The more we grow in
By Jerry Circelli
More than 200 men and women who have
dedicated their lives to serving Christ and
his Church filled the pews 10 rows deep, at
St. Patrick Cathedral in Fort Worth, Feb. 6, as
the diocese launched its celebration of “2015,
The Year of Consecrated Life.” Seated behind
them, an equal number of laity participated in
the event, showing their support for the priests,
brothers, sisters, and deacons from throughout
the world who support the local Church.
Approximately 100 priests serve the Diocese of Fort Worth, about half of whom belong
to religious orders. Also serving in the diocese
are 87 religious order sisters, several religious
order brothers, and more than 100 permanent
deacons. In addition, the diocese has more
than 30 seminarians preparing to serve in the
diocese, which includes more than 700,000
Catholics in 28 North Texas counties.
The celebration at St. Patrick’s included
Solemn Vespers presided over by Bishop Michael
F. Olson, with the Holy Trinity Seminary Schola
Cantorum performing hymns and chants.
Following Solemn Vespers at the cathedral, priests, sisters, brothers, and deacons
walked next door to the St. Patrick Pastoral
Center. There, members from 20 religious orders assembled in designated areas around the
walls to visit with the faithful. They provided
insight into how their orders originated, the
work they are doing around the world, and the
current direction of their personal vocations
in the Diocese of Fort Worth. The Pastoral
Center was packed for the first-ever religious
fair of its kind.
During his homily, Bishop Olson said the
Diocese of Fort Worth owes much to religious order men and women who serve the local Church
and model their dedication to Christ through
their vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
The bishop said that a religious order man or
woman lives out his or her vocation “as a leaven
that can help us to live the life of the Church as
our vocation, the more
we love Christ, and the
more we love Christ
in people.’
— Sister Roberta Hesse, SSMN
a communion, centered around Christ, with the
universal call to holiness at its heart.”
In giving thanks for their service to the
local faithful, the bishop said, “The Diocese of
Fort Worth and I, as its bishop, are very grateful for the ministry of our religious brothers
and sisters.”
“Your witness, especially by how you live
community, is so important for our formation
as a local Church, including our clergy, our lay
faithful, our catechists. Everyone involved in
the life of the Church needs your vocation.”
To end his homily, the bishop said, “Let’s
wake the world, with light and what we have
received, and share it freely in joy of the call
that He has given to each of us.”
Bishop Olson’s message underscored that
of Pope Francis, who designated 2015 as the
Year of Consecrated Life. The pope encouraged consecrated men and women to “Show
everyone that to follow Christ and to put his
Gospel into practice fills your hearts with
happiness!” That happiness and joy filled the nearby
Pastoral Center as laity joined priests, brothers, sisters, and deacons during the continued
Among consecrated men and women in
attendance was Sister Roberta Hesse, Sisters of
St. Mary Namur (SSMN). A North Texas native, Sr. Roberta served 35 years as a missionary in Africa, including 25 years in the Congo.
Photos by Donna Ryckaert
She now resides at Our Lady of Victory Center
in South Fort Worth. This special year, as
designated by the pope, she said, “has given
me time to rethink my life and where I actually grew into the understanding of the vows
I made as a very young person.” Now 80, Sr.
Roberta took her first vows 54 years ago.
“The more we grow in our vocation,” Sr.
Roberta said, “the more we love Christ, and
the more we love Christ in people.”
Also in attendance was Brother Anthony
John Mathison, Order of Preachers (OP),
commonly referred to as the Dominicans. Br.
Anthony is only six months into his novitiate
year and recently heard God’s call to become
a priest.
“You can learn a lot about religious orders
on the Internet,” Br. Anthony said, “but when
you actually meet one of the friars or meet one
of the priests or sisters, it’s much different. It’s
much better to meet face to face.”
Brother Isaiah Marie Hofmann, with the
Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFR), said
he viewed the Year of Consecrated Life as a
time “to renew our own consecration, to be
refreshed in it and to rediscover our charisms.”
Father Tom Stabile, Third Order Regular
of St. Francis (TOR), expressed similar sentiments. Pastor of St. Andrew Church in Fort
Worth, Fr. Tom said, “Most religious orders
came to be for a particular purpose or need.
Times change, needs change … but still,
we have our roots.” He said that the Year of
Consecrated Life calls for men and women to
not only learn more about their religious order
origins, but also to ask, “What is it that we’re
called to do now?”
Sister Eva Sanchez, from the Missionary
Catechists of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and
Mary (MCSH), said that now is the time to go
out and proactively approach young men and
women to be attentive to God’s call. She serves
as director of Religious Education at Holy
Name Church in Fort Worth.
“Pope Francis says we should go out to
them,” Sr. Eva said, “instead of waiting for
Vice C
Vice Chancellor Sister Yolanda
Cruz, SSMN, poses with St. Mary
of Namur Sister Dorothy Powers
in front of the order's display.
Vietnamese Dominican
Sisters — Sr. Cecelia (L.);
Sr. Catherine at Vespers.
them to come to us. We are the ones who
should take the steps to go out.”
Sr. Eva said her order has several events
planned to shine that light, including an open
house at the MCSH convent in Fort Worth.
Two Nolan Catholic High School freshmen, Miranda Rivera and Hannah Brennan,
served as ambassadors for the Year of Consecrated Life event. They handed out rosaries,
opened doors, greeted those in attendance, and
helped out in many ways.
Hannah said she felt honored to be of
service to those who have entered into consecrated life. Miranda agreed, adding she is looking forward to more events involving men and
women who have dedicated their lives to serving God. When she heard of an open house
being planned by the MCSH sisters, she said,
“That would be so cool! I want to do that.”
When Sister Yolanda Cruz, SSMN, vice
Third Order Regular Franciscan Friars (L. to R.) Fr.
Augustine Lieb, TOR; Fr. Benedict Jurchak, TOR; and
Fr. Dave Morrier, TOR, pose before their booth at the
reception following the Vespers service.
chancellor for Parish Services and Women Religious, learned of the excitement of the Nolan
freshmen, she looked skyward and exclaimed,
“Yes, Lord!”
She told the North Texas Catholic, “That’s
the kind of outreach we want to do!”
Sr. Yolanda, who coordinated the celebration with Director of Vocations Father James
Wilcox, said many young men and women at
the event expressed interest in the orders, open
houses, and retreats.
She was also pleased at the turnout of
more than 400 people.
“I was ecstatic when I saw all those people,” Sr. Yolanda said. “I really knew this was
the work of the Lord. This was about people
responding to a call from the pope to celebrate
consecrated life.”
“This has just been a blessing for all of
Religious Congregations of Women in the Diocese of Fort Worth
Congregation of Divine Providence (CDP)
Missionary Catechists of the Sacred Hearts of
Jesus and Mary (MCSH)
Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth (CSFN)
Vietnamese Dominican Sisters (OP)
Hermanas Catequistas Guadalupanas (HCG)
Olivetan Benedictine Sisters (OSB)
Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (HFIC)
Sisters of the Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate
Missionary Catechists of Divine Providence
Sisters of St. Mary Namur (SSMN)
Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word (CCVI)
Holy Trinity Seminary's Schola Cantorum offered
their musical talents to enhance the hymns and
chants sung during the Vespers service Feb. 6.
Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, Fr. Pio Maria
Hoffmann, CFR, (L.) and Br. Thomas McGrinder,
CFR, greeted visitors to their table at the reception.
Sr. Patricia Gonzalez, HCG, (left) and Sr. Diana
Rodriguez, HCG, flank Bishop Olson at the
reception, just as they did on Nov. 19, 2013, after
celebrating his first Mass as the newly announced
bishop-elect of the Diocese of Fort Worth.
School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND)
Discalced Carmelite Nuns (OCD)
Religious Congregations of Men in the Diocese of Fort Worth
Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFR)
Society of the Catholic Apostolate (SAC)
Congregation of Mother Co-Redemptrix (CMC)
Society of Jesus (SJ)
Heralds of Good News (HGN)
Society of Divine Word (SVD)
Franciscan Friars (OFM)
Third Order Regular of St. Francis (TOR)
Capuchin Franciscan Friars (OFM Cap)
Dominicans — Order of Preachers (OP)
Confraternidad Sacerdotal de Operarios del
Reino de Cristo (CORC)
Web Resources
For more information on religious congregations of women in the Diocese of
Fort Worth, visit
For more information on religious congregations of men in the Diocese of Fort
Worth, visit:
Catch a YouTube glimpse of some of the
many in the Diocese of Fort Worth dedicated to serving Christ and his Church:
Cherishing the gift
(CNS illustration/Emily Thompson)
Pro-lifers listen to
a speaker at the
Roe Memorial Rally
outside the Earle
Cabell Federal
Courthouse in
Dallas, the site
where Roe v. Wade
was first filed.
(Photo by Juan
Guajardo / NTC)
Pro-Life Texas gains momentum at Austin rally, but work remains
By Jerry Circelli
bby Johnson made a
strange introduction
on the Capitol steps in
Austin Jan. 25, even by her own
admission. Johnson, an eight-year
veteran of a Planned Parenthood
clinic who rose through the ranks
to become its director, welcomed
Claire Coldwell to the podium.
Once a world apart on the issue of
life for the unborn, these two have
established a strong bond.
“As a former abortion clinic director, I never thought in my life that
one of my closest friends would be
an abortion survivor,” Johnson said.
Johnson, now a leading pro-life
activist, was master of ceremonies for
the 2015 Texas Rally for Life in Austin, which several thousand people,
including more than 200 from the
Diocese of Fort Worth, attended.
Johnson's conversion came
after assisting in and witnessing an
ultrasound-guided abortion. Coldwell, who survived an abortion more
than 20 years ago has, in her own way,
also come to appreciate life anew.
An adopted child, Coldwell
told those gathered for the rally,
“I always knew that family was
a gift, but something I never realized was that life was a gift.”
Coldwell recounted the words
her birth mother told her a few years
ago, when Coldwell gave her a birthstone ring as a symbol of her gratitude
for choosing adoption over abortion.
“When I gave her that ring,
the words she said to me made
me realize that my life was not a
‘given,’ it was a ‘gift,’” Coldwell said.
The reality, Coldwell discovered, was that her mother was 13 at
the time of her pregnancy. A family
member had taken her for an abortion, Coldwell said. After returning
home and thinking that the abortion
had ended her pregnancy, the mother
discovered that she had been expecting twins — Coldwell’s brother had
been aborted, while she survived.
Born at only three pounds,
the baby girl — now an adult addressing a crowd of thousands —
endured years of body casts and
harnesses to correct the ravaging
effects of the abortion on her body.
Coldwell choked back tears as she
turned from recounting the painful
past to anticipating a joyful future she
can now share with her own daughter.
“I want to thank all of you for
being here to march and speak up
for people like me,” Coldwell said.
“How many lives are we missing because of abortion?” Coldwell
continued. “How many smiles, how
many hugs, how many hearts are not
filled with joy like mine has been?”
To a cheering crowd waving their pro-life signs high in
the air, Coldwell predicted, “We
will end abortion in Texas!”
Cecilia Abbott, wife of Texas
Gov. Greg Abbott, also addressed
the crowd. She relayed a pledge
from the governor that he will
continue to defend life in Texas
and that protecting the lives of
the unborn will be his priority.
Newly-elected Texas Land
Commissioner George P. Bush
— son of former Florida Gov. Jeb
Bush — also spoke. He was candid in his disdain for the Supreme
Court decision, Roe v. Wade, that
legalized abortion 42 years ago and
cost nearly 57 million unborn lives.
“By standing here today, we
show that every life matters,” he said.
“By standing here today, we hope that
every life will one day be protected
under the law. And by standing
here today, we know that every life
is created in God’s own image.”
Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life,
outlined the accomplishments
that have made Texas a leader in
the fight to defend the unborn.
Pojman credited the reduced
numbers of abortions to parental
consent laws, defunding of Planned
Parenthood, a strong sonogram
bill requiring abortion facilities to
inform women about their babies’
stage of development, a ban on
abortions after the fifth month, and
unborn children being recognized
as “persons” in the eyes of the law.
The fight to save lives of the
unborn is far from over, Pojman cautioned, stating that the latest figures
show that 68,000 abortions are still
being performed in the state each year.
“And that’s why we are here,
to encourage our elected officials
meeting in the Capitol for the
next few months to do everything possible to protect innocent human life from conception
to natural death,” Pojman said.
The 200 Catholics from the
Diocese of Fort Worth who attended the rally — which included a long march to the Capitol — traveled to Austin in buses
that departed from St. Elizabeth
Ann Seton Church in Keller.
Nancy Baum, who attends St.
John the Apostle Church in North
Richland Hills, felt compelled to join
the masses in support of the unborn.
“I wanted to contribute in some
way to getting the pro-life message
out, to save the babies,” Baum said.
Teresa Johnson — who with
her husband, Tim, organized the
diocesan trip — agreed that the fight
for life is what compels people of
all ages to make the trip to Austin.
“This year, we had 35 youth,
but the great thing is that we had
more parents and whole families
join us than ever,” said Tim. “Incidentally, the oldest person on
the bus was 72 and the youngest
was 7. The Culture of Life is for
everyone and that is why we feel
called to organize it for the diocese.”
Abby Johnson closed the rally by
reminding pro-lifers that “this is not
your pro-life activity for the year. This
is a good start, but every day babies
are aborted in this country and in the
state of Texas. And as long as abortions are taking place, I am asking you
to commit yourselves to do more.”
Young Defenders: Students, young adults
embracing pro-life cause
By Juan Guajardo
housands upon thousands
of pro-lifers from across the
Metroplex, Texas, and the nation
came together to pray for an end
to abortion during the 2015 North
Texas March for Life, held Jan. 17 at
Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention
Center in Dallas, and the national
March for Life, the largest pro-life
event in the world, held Jan. 22 at the
National Mall in Washington, D.C.
One of the most common
sights at these marches? Youth.
Among the more than 5,000
marchers who participated in the
North Texas March, were many
youth, young adults, high-schoolers
and college students. That young
people are embracing the title of “the
pro-life generation” is no surprise.
At both the national march and the
North Texas March, young people
were at the helm, leading the marchers. One national columnist who attended the D.C. March, which had
approximately 200,000 marchers,
called the “sea of millennials and
younger…” in attendance a “countercultural force to be reckoned with."
Bishop Olson who was among
the demonstrators at the D.C.
march, led a delegation of more
than 100 from the diocese, including a group from Nolan Catholic
High School. The bishop, similarly accompanied by youth from
our diocese, also attended the
North Texas March in Dallas.
The Pro-Life Mavericks, a
student group at the University of
Texas at Arlington, were one of
several young adult groups that took
part in the North Texas March.
The campus group is dedicated to
ending abortion and supporting
'Respect human life through justice
and mercy,' says bishop at pro-life Mass
By Joan Kurkowski-Gillen
pproximately 500
worshippers turned out for
the annual diocesan Respect
Life Mass concelebrated Jan.
26 by Bishop Michael Olson,
Monsignor Joe Pemberton,
rector of St. Patrick Cathedral,
and other priests in the diocese.
Addressing one of the largest crowds to assemble for the
pro-life liturgy, the bishop reminded his listeners why the
Mass coincides with the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe
v. Wade decision that legalized
abortion. He said it serves as a
renewal of "the mission the Lord
has given us to promote and respect the dignity of human life
both through justice and mercy.”
Abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and other sins
against life must be confronted
as more than just a social problem. Like other offenses against
God and our neighbor, they are a
refusal of love and truth, he said.
“If we recognize that, then we
can see the hope of the Gospel enter
into the situation and see ourselves
as the instruments by which hope
enters in — not to a situation, but
people’s lives,” the bishop said.
“People who are — in the words
of Pope Francis — in need of
the field hospital of the Church,
mothers carrying unborn children.
“We’re here to just help all
the other pro-life people make a
statement, a huge statement to
Dallas, Texas, the U.S. and to
the whole world, that we are very
serious about standing up for unborn children,” said Naomi Carlton, vice president of the club"
Her brother, Ben, who has attended the march multiple times,
and Adam Fogel, the group’s
public relations director, have no-
which offers healing and grace.”
He asked the congregation
to see every person wounded by
abortion not just in the abstract
but as people with a name, a
family, and a story — to help
them find healing and truth.
“As you encounter them,
recognize God in them and
help them see the path more
clearly of redemption, mercy,
and of gratitude for God’s
gift of human life,” he said.
After the homily, a candlelight procession down the center
aisle of the cathedral commemorated the 56 million lives lost to
abortion since 1973. The ceremony ended with Betsy Kopor, director of Rachel Ministries, placing
the Book of Innocents at the foot
of the altar. Pages in the ledger
contain the names of unborn babies lost to abortion in the diocese.
“We hope this ceremony
opens up eyes and hearts to all
the indignities of life,” Kopor said.
Michael Demma, diocesan
director of the Respect Life Office, was pleased with the large
turnout for the Mass and reception
that followed in the parish hall.
“Awareness of life issues is
beginning to grow at a rapid
rate," he said. "Together we can
end abortion in the next generation and refocus our efforts
on other life issues like euthanasia and capital punishment.”
ticed a larger percentage of young
people attending the march than
in years past. “It’s our generation’s problem to fix,” Fogel said.
“The pro-life cause,” Ben Carlton added, “...the idea of valuing and
loving and supporting every human
no matter what — no discrimination
— is a very amazing idea that young
people kind of run with. It’s a very
big purpose and that’s something
that young people like to have: a real
purpose and a compassionate one.”
Fr. Kirkham celebrates first Mass with new
St. Martin de Porres Parish
By Mary Lou Seewoester
St. Martin de Porres, known for his
service to the poor and outreach
to the sick and marginalized, will
lend his name to the newest parish in the Diocese of Fort Worth.
The Very Rev. Karl Schilken, Vicar
General of the diocese, announced
the name of the parish which will
serve eastern Denton County, during Sunday Masses celebrated Jan.
26 at Purefoy Elementary School,
11880 Teel Pkwy., Frisco. Worshippers belonging to the new parish
are currently gathering at the local
public elementary school.
“With this new parish being
named St. Martin de Porres, you are
never going to be able to forget who
Christ is and what He is calling you
to do,” Fr. Schilken said
Bishop Michael Olson announced erection of the new parish and the appointment of Father
Richard Kirkham as its first pastor
on Dec. 28. Fr. Kirkham had been
pastor at St. Jude Thaddeus Parish
in Burkburnett and celebrated his
first Mass with the community of
St. Martin de Porres on Feb. 8 at
Purefoy Elementary.
“There is a lot of hard work
ahead for St. Martin de Porres Parish and school, and the only way
in which we can move forward
and grow requires good stewards,”
said Fr. Kirkham. “By St. Martin’s
example, his way of life, how he
responded to others, how he gave
back and shared what he had,” he
inspired and encouraged those who
knew him, to be good stewards, said
the newly appointed pastor. Fr. Kirkham reminded parishioners that according to the example set
Fr. Richard Kirkham gives his first homily as pastor of St. Martin de Porres
Parish in east Denton County Feb. 8. (Photo by Laura Bute)
by St. Martin de Porres, stewardship
is not about ownership or control,
but is “living by giving.” He encouraged his parishioners to “prayerfully
consider” which ministries the new
parish needs and asked them to pray
for each other and for him.
“To be a good steward, you must
first be a good disciple,” he added,
“and to be a good disciple requires
a disciplined prayer life. Without
prayer, how will you best know how
to respond when God is calling you
to serve as one of his stewards?”
“St. Martin de Porres will be
wonderful as an intercessor and
patron because he’s a saint of the
Americas,” said Bishop Olson in
an interview with the North Texas
Catholic. “This saint reflects a lot
of the reality of our culture today in
that he was biracial and was raised
in a single-parent home. He’s also
the patron of civil rights and of
social justice.”
Bishop Olson invited the new
community to offer “attentiveness,
outreach, and mission to the poor,
to those who otherwise might fall
through the cracks.” He added that
St. Martin de Porres Parish “will
need to be a parish of hospitality
and openness because there are so
many people moving there from
other parts of the United States.”
In forming a new Catholic community, there is the challenge to “be
open and flexible, to be generous,
to live the call of solidarity, to be
open to the guidance and care of
their pastor, Fr. Kirkham,” Bishop
Olson added. “In the communal life
of parish, avoid divisions at all costs
and really work hard to be united in
the Gospel and be people of prayer
and generosity.”
More than 100 parishioners
met with Fr. Kirkham for the first
time on Jan. 15 to discuss choosing
a parish name and construction of
buildings for the church and school
to serve Catholics in the eastern
Denton County communities of
Prosper, Little Elm, and west Frisco.
Jason and Alexis Campbell attended the meeting with Fr. Kirkham
because they are “looking for an opportunity to help grow a parish that
will serve not only our needs and our
children’s needs, but also the needs
of the larger community.”
According to Fr. Kirkham, the
first phase of construction will be
the parish school, which currently
accommodates Pre-K through third
grades in a remodeled building in
west Frisco. Phase two will include
construction of the new church
building. The property for both the
church and school is located north of
Highway 380 between Teel Parkway
and Windsong Drive. “We’re so excited to now have
a pastor, a piece of land, and a plan
for moving forward,” remarked
Jason Campbell.
“We want to be involved in
the groundwork — to be a part of a
parish that will last into the future,”
he added. “And I hope to still be
around here in 30 years to see how
it’s grown and matured.”
Parishioner Tom McCall
echoed Bishop Olson’s call for offering the gift of hospitality. “This
is about getting to people when
they’re young and saying ‘this is
your home — come and make this
your home,’” he said.
Martin Luther King Mass homilist reminds
faithful of the power and obligations of
By Michele Baker
Saturday, Jan. 10 found St. Rita’s
Catholic Church in East Fort
Worth ringing with strains of
freedom and hope as people from
around the diocese gathered to
remember the life and work of Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Bishop
Michael Olson presided over the
memorial mass which has been
celebrated annually in the Diocese
of Fort Worth since 1986, the
year Dr. King’s birthday was first
observed as a national holiday.
Joining Bishop Olson were Father
Carmen Mele, OP; Father Eric
Michael Groner, SVD, pastor of
St. Rita’s, and guest homilist Father Anthony Chandler, longtime
friend of Bishop Olson’s from their
days at The Catholic University of
America in Washington, DC.
Taking place on the Baptism
of the Lord, gave Fr. Chandler an
opportunity to speak of the call to
service and conversion that everyone receives in Baptism. He drew
parallels between Jesus’ mission
of salvation and Dr. King’s call to
civil leadership.
“There are four aspects of
Jesus’ baptism that I’d like to reflect
upon tonight,” he said. “First, Jesus
humbles himself. Next, he is empowered by the Holy Spirit to begin
God’s mission. He then accepts
God’s mission, and in so doing
expresses his solidarity with those
who wanted to change the world.”
In being baptized by John, Fr.
Chandler explained, Jesus, though
he was sinless, shows his humility.
Dr. King’s humility allowed him
to see the inherent dignity of each
human person and to receive the
power of the Holy Spirit, which
in turn, enabled him to accept his
role in the public arena, in spite of
the grave personal consequences it
could and did have on him. In this
way, Fr. Chandler continued, Dr.
King was united to Christ at the
moment of his agony in the garden.
Both our Lord and Dr. King knew
the cost of their acceptance of the
mission God had for each of them.
The power of the Holy Spirit
made manifest at Jesus’ baptism,
that flowed out of Dr. King’s
baptism, and that all the faithful
are called to receive, gives each
Christian the courage to express
their solidarity with those who
wish to change the world, Fr.
Chandler said.
“Those who stood before
John to be baptized were sick of
persecution, cruelty, and war —
as are we.” Fr. Chandler said. “So
what did they do? They repented
of their sins because they knew
that to change the world they had
to change themselves.”
Fr. Chandler expanded his
thoughts on the role of personal
conversion in an e-mail.
“Many have become complacent in their prayer life. No
prayer and no service ultimately
leads to no God and no faith,” he
said. “This is the opposite of our
being connected to Christ and
his Church. We have been called,
washed, redeemed, and saved!!
The ‘me only’ mentality is not
representative of Christ.”
Fr. Chandler summed up
his thoughts by reminding the
congregation of the beloved song,
“Let There Be Peace on Earth.”
In the lyric we ask that peace begin within our own hearts.
“It’s easy to sing but hard to
live,” Fr. Chandler said. “But a
servant of God is one who sees his
life directed by the will of God. If
this were true of each of us, how
different our world would be.”
Brooklyn Masters listens to
instructions before the Mass on
Jan. 11 at St. Rita Parish in Fort Worth.
(NTC / Juan Guajardo)
Bishop Olson blesses the congregation with Holy Water at St. Rita's Parish in Fort
Worth during the 30th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Mass celebrated
by Bishop Olson. (NTC / Juan Guajardo)
Father Anh Tran, new Judicial Vicar outlines Marriage Tribunal annulment
process, points to how it allows people to return to the sacraments
Joan Kurkowski-Gillen
Pope Francis generated widespread media attention last fall
when he voiced concerns about
the annulment process in the
Catholic Church. During meetings with canon lawyers and
Vatican officials, he suggested
procedures that declare a marriage
invalid could be more efficient
and possibly free of charge.
“The Diocese of Fort Worth
is doing that already,” says Father
Anh Tran who was appointed
Judicial Vicar by Bishop Michael
Olson on Jan. 1. “We’re very
accessible to people and try our
very best to make it expedient for
As the bishop’s representative, Fr. Tran will oversee the
diocese’s Marriage Tribunal which
adjudicates whether a marriage,
presumed to be valid according
to Church law, actually fell short
of at least one of the essential elements required for a valid consent.
Under the leadership of
Bishop Joseph Delaney, the fee for
petitioning for an annulment was
eliminated. However, in recent
years it has become necessary
to charge a very nominal fee of
$100 which covers the Appellate
Court cost. In some cases a Court
Appointed Expert may be called
upon to examine a case, and that
fee is covered by the petitioner.
The oldest of eight children,
Fr. Tran came to the U.S. as a refugee from Vietnam in 1975. His
family settled in East Fort Worth
where he graduated from St. Rita
Catholic School and Eastern Hills
High School.
After earning a bachelor’s
degree in philosophy from Conception College Seminary in Missouri, he attended Holy Trinity
Seminary in Irving for theology
Fr. Anh Tran, new Judicial Vicar for the diocese says God’s grace draws people
back to the sacraments. (NTC Photo / Joan Kurkowski-Gillen)
and completed his studies in 1990
at Houston’s St. Mary Seminary.
The late Bishop Joseph Delaney
ordained him to the priesthood in
May 1990 at St. Matthew Church
in Arlington. Fr. Tran went on to
receive his Licentiate in Canon
Law (JCL) from The Catholic
University of America in 1996.
“I feel it’s a blessing from
the Lord, and I thank God and
Bishop Olson for allowing me to
serve God’s people in this position I was trained for,” explained
the new judicial vicar. In addition
to various parish assignments, Fr.
Tran also served the diocese as
Director of Vocations from 1999
to 2007.
According to the experienced
Marriage Tribunal adjudicator,
there are several misconceptions
about the Catholic Church’s annulment process.
“I think one of the biggest
misconceptions that the public
may have is that an annulment
makes children illegitimate.
That’s not true,” Fr. Tran stated
The Catholic Church acknowledges there was a valid civil
contract, and the spouses were
lawfully married in the eyes of
the state. Therefore, children born
of this union are legitimate according to the Church and Canon
“What God has made no one
can divide.” Canon 1060 states:
“Marriage possesses the favor of
the law; therefore, in a case of
doubt, the validity of marriage
must be upheld until the contrary is proven.” Annulments are
granted only when there is proof of
invalid consent.
The Tribunal investigates
grounds that might overturn the
presumed validity of marriage.
“That might mean one or both
of the parties didn’t know what
they were getting into. There may
have been a misconception about
marriage itself,” he explains. “They
might have been too young or
might have been forced into it due
to pregnancy or some other situation in their lives. They did not
fully give free consent.”
Other grounds for annulment
could be psychological problems
that were present prior to the marriage or entering the marriage with
an intention not to have children
or to remain faithful.
A goal of the annulment process is to help people clarify their
status in the Church, to return to
the sacraments, to marry in the
Church, and become closer to the
Lord. “People want to receive the
sacraments and have a better relationship to God,” says Fr. Tran,
who worked in the Appellate
Court for the Dioceses of Texas
in San Antonio since 1996 as a
Defender of the Bond of marriage.
“That’s why they are willing to go
through this process.”
The skilled Canon Law
specialist says Marriage Tribunals
exist to help people.
“God doesn’t want people to
suffer. God does not want people
to be separated from his love and
grace, so he uses the Church to
help bring them back,” the softspoken priest explains. “The process for some can be healing and
very cathartic.”
The most difficult part for
some applicants is reopening
the wounds of a failed marriage.
The gathering of documents and
choosing knowledgeable witnesses can be time consuming. A
former spouse can choose not to
participate in the process, but the
Tribunal gives him or her the opportunity to be heard.
With Pope Francis’ welcoming words and actions drawing
more lapsed Catholics back to the
fold, Fr. Tran expects the number
of petitions to increase. Last year
the Marriage Tribunal judged 153
cases. Another 20 cases were accepted but later withdrawn by the
“Challenges are there for us,
but grace from God is available to
all people,” he adds. “We have a
good team and support from parish advocates.”
His advice to Catholics
contemplating an annulment is:
“Don’t be afraid.”
“God will give you the grace
to come back.”
Jason Spoolstra named director of Youth Ministry for diocese
By Joan Kurkowski-Gillen
Eager to get young Catholics
involved in parish life? According
to Jason Spoolstra, the motivating factor could be something as
simple as a heartfelt invitation.
“Look them in the eye and
ask, ‘Have you thought about
coming to our Wednesday night
meeting? We’d love to have you,’”
advises the 29-year-old who became Director of Youth Ministry
for the Diocese of Fort Worth
Dec. 15.
“You have to make a connection with them,” says the energetic
youth leader. “Every young person
in the community is a potential member of the youth group
whether they’re Catholic or not.
What matters are the questions:
Are we bringing Christ to them?
Are we inviting them?”
It was the welcoming, Spiritfilled program at St. Elizabeth
Ann Seton Church in Keller that
brought Spoolstra closer to his
faith as a teen. He credits former
youth minister, Matt Gill, for inspiring him and helping him grow
“My youth minister had a
profound effect on me,” says the
cradle Catholic, who learned
how to pray at those meetings.
“The way he brought Christ to us
made me want to learn more. He
was always there to answer our
The Richland High School
student became a regular at youth
group activities, participated in all
the service projects, and volunteered for special events. By his
junior year in high school, he was
discerning a call to the priesthood.
“I knew God was calling
me toward Him, but I didn’t
know how,” Spoolstra admits. “I
thought I would probably end up
Jason Spoolstra, new director of Youth Ministry, comes to the position with
broad experience and great enthusiasm for building youth programs that
present authentic Catholicism. (NTC Photo / Joan Kurkowski-Gillen)
in the seminary.”
The public high school senior
was so serious about a potential
vocation, he did a classroom project on the religious life.
“There were a lot of blank
stares,” he says, remembering the
reaction from classmates. “Most of
the kids at my high school didn’t
care about God or religion, but I
was always one of those kids not
afraid to speak about my faith and
After graduation, Spoolstra
took that enthusiasm with him
to the University of North Texas
where he studied history and discussed Catholicism with other students. One conversation remains
particularly vivid. A girl who lived
in his dorm noticed the John Paul
II T-shirt he was wearing and
asked if he was Catholic. She was
“We hit it off as friends, and
one evening we spent several hours
talking about the differences
and similarities of our faiths,” he
recalls. “There was no bickering
or arguing — just a conversation.
I had answers and she was very
open to what I was saying.”
Several years later, after deciding not to enter the seminary,
Spoolstra began dating the young
woman. Friendship blossomed
into romance and Becky Mahn
became his wife Becky Spoolstra
in 2008. The couple now has a
baby daughter, Clare.
Before joining the diocesan
staff, the experienced youth minister used his engaging personality and easy smile to build youth
programs at several parishes.
During college, he worked as
a part-time youth leader at St.
Maria Goretti Parish in Arlington
and eventually became the parish’s Confirmation coordinator.
In 2009, after college graduation,
the youth leader and his new wife
moved to Springfield, Virginia
where he began a full-time ministry job at St. Bernadette Church.
Two years later, when a youth
ministry position opened up at St.
Thomas Aquinas Church in Pilot
Point, the Spoolstras moved back
to North Texas.
“I loved working with the
kids at St. Thomas, so applying
for the diocesan job was a big decision for me. I spent a lot of time
in prayer about it,” he says.
In addition to planning a
successful diocesan pilgrimage for
200 teens and their chaperones to
World Youth Day in Poland next
year, the new diocesan director
has other short-term goals he’d
like to accomplish. The Diocese of
Fort Worth is large, with diverse
demographics, so no one type of
youth program suits all parishes.
“But some things are universal,” Spoolstra acknowledges. “In
today’s culture, there’s a pervasive
view that the Catholic Church
is ‘outdated’ and ‘behind’ the
times, so we need strong families,
volunteers, youth ministers, and
catechists to counter that indifference and ignorance and really
teach the faith.”
And he wants to encourage
youth ministers to be exciting and
“That’s what drew me in,” he
says, recalling his teenage years in
youth ministry. “It wasn’t someone
up there being boring and giving
a list of facts or fluff. It was someone saying, ‘Here’s the truth. This
is exciting. It will bring you joy.
All are welcome.’”
Youth ministry competes with
a society fraught with relativism
and an “anything goes” mentality.
An effective youth program will
lead kids to Christ in an environment that’s authentically Catholic
and presents the truth.
“If we’re going to raise the
next generation of Catholics and
the next generation of priests,
we have to give young people
something that challenges them,”
Spoolstra asserts. “Kids want to
hear the truth. They may not
always like it, but we still have to
give them the fullness of truth.”
Sr. Marie Anthony Hunter, SSMN, (1917-2015) taught and
administered in Catholic schools, inspiring others
By Jenara Kocks Burgess
Sister Marie Anthony Hunter (Sister
Alice Hunter,) SSMN, 97-year-old
retired educator who taught at Sisters
of Saint Mary of Namur Schools in
the Fort Worth and Dallas dioceses,
died at Our Lady of Victory Center
on Jan. 23. Mass of Christian Burial
was at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27 at
Our Lady of Victory Center. Interment followed at Mount Olivet.
Her wake was observed at 6:30 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 26, at OLV Center.
Alice Fay Hunter was born in
Fort Worth in 1917. She was a graduate of Our Lady of Victory Academy
and, inspired by the example and
teaching of Sister Gertrude Moore
and Sister Elizabeth Williams, she
entered the Sisters of Saint Mary of
Namur on Aug. 15, 1936, taking
the religious name of Sister Marie
Anthony. She made her final vows
on Aug. 15, 1945.
Sr. Marie Anthony earned a
Bachelor of Arts from Our Lady of
Victory College in 1946 and a Masters in Education from The Catholic
University of America in 1954.
She served as administrator
and teacher in Sisters of Saint Mary
of Namur schools in Fort Worth,
Beaumont, Dallas, and Sherman.
Sister Bernice Knapek, SSMN,
said that Sr. Marie Anthony was
one of the first sisters she came in
contact with at St. James School in
Dallas, and she was also her eighth
grade teacher.
“The other day when I was
reflecting on Sister Alice’s life, I
thought to myself, unknowingly,
she had a great influence on me in
the world of education. And I stayed
in it myself for over 40 years,” said
Sr. Bernice, a retired teacher and
Sr. Marie Anthony Hunter, SSMN
“She not only taught us the basic
subjects of religion, math, literature,
and science, Sr. Marie Anthony gave
us a great appreciation for music and
art. We had the privilege of singing
during school programs, Mass, May
processions, funerals, and whenever needed. In art, we studied the
masters. When Sister left St. James
School and Parish in Dallas after 12
years, there was a sadness among the
families whose children had had her
as a teacher and principal. She had
touched so many lives in the parish,”
said Sr. Bernice.
One of the things Sr. Bernice remembered about Sr. Marie
Anthony was her excitement and
enthusiasm for education and her
students, as well as her creativity
and artistic abilities.
“There was that enthusiasm
that was passed onto the students
and came to the parents,” Sr. Bernice said. “The parents knew that
she loved the children and that she
wanted the best for them. There
was that beautiful spirit of ‘How
can I help these young children
and families become who they are
supposed to become?’”
Sr. Marie Anthony’s peak
years were those in which she was
involved with Learning Math with
the Cuisenaire Rods, according to
the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur.
When this method was introduced
to the Diocese of Dallas in the 1960s,
Sister Mary Charles Payne and Sr.
Marie Anthony became “apostles”
of the method. Sr. Marie Anthony
became the resident expert in the
instructional system, which uses
relationships of colored “rods” to
teach math. Sr. Mary Charles used
the method to teach Words in Color, a
phonetic system of teaching reading
using color to show the relationship
between oral and written language.
Sr. Marie Anthony was on the faculty
of the University of Dallas during
this time, teaching elementary
school administration and serving
as the assistant superintendent of
schools for the Diocese of Dallas.
Sr. Alice was principal at St.
Mary’s Parish School in Sherman
from 1972 to 1991. She retired
from formal teaching in 1991. The
“Sherman Sisters’” community of
Sister Mary Charles, Sister Alice,
Sister Marion Celeste, and Sister
Regina taught at St. Mary’s for 25
years, retiring together from formal
teaching in 1991. They continued to
serve the parish until 1996 when the
community relocated to Our Lady
of Victory in Fort Worth.
Father Jeremy Myers, pastor of
St. Mary’s Parish in Sherman, said
in his homily at Sr. Alice’s Mass of
Christian Burial, that he met Sr.
Alice after she had retired from
being principal for 20 years at St.
Mary’s and while she continued to
serve the parish as the director of
religious education.
Fr. Myers also said in the
homily that though she was short
in stature, she was a woman who
stood her ground, and she made a
great impact on St. Mary’s School
and Parish.
Fr. Myers said Sr. Alice also
had a soft side. He said she loved
children, would never turn a child
away because their parents couldn’t
afford tuition, and she and the other
sisters were known for going without
food themselves so that they could
buy food for the hungry.
“She would say her happiest
years were in Sherman. They also
were some of our happiest,” Fr.
Myers said.
Although her health declined in
recent years, Sr. Alice was committed to a life of prayer and community
concerns until the end.
Sr. Alice is survived by nieces
and nephews, and the sisters of her
religious community.
Memorials may be made to
Sisters of St. Mary of Namur, 909
W. Shaw, Fort Worth, Texas 76110.
To Report Misconduct
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual misconduct by anyone who
serves the church, you may
․ Call Judy Locke, victim assistance coordinator, (817) 945-9340 or e-mail her
at [email protected]
․ Or call the Sexual Abuse Hot-line (817) 945-9345 and leave a message.
To Report Abuse
Call the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (Child Protective
Services at (800) 252-5400
JD Trucking
General construction work/repairs inside and out including topsoil,
sand, gravel, washed materials, driveways, concrete, backhoe, and
tractor services. Custom mowing lots and acres. Call (817) 732-4083.
Catholic Charities' Urban Manor provides
safe housing for low income residents
Catholic Charities' Urban Manor provides safe, low-income housing
for up to 194 families and clients. (NTC / Juan Guajardo)
Each day, as Yvette “Tay” Robson
makes her daily rounds through
the Urban Manor apartment
complex, her purposeful stride
is halted every few minutes by
the enthusiastic greetings of
residents of all ages.
Robson, the complex’s service coordinator, welcomes
the interruptions. She happily
dispenses high-fives and hugs,
gathers health updates, and
trades jokes with members of
the community, which became
part of Catholic Charities Fort
Worth (CCFW)’s housing program in 2012. The mission of
Urban Manor, said Robson, is to
help low-income individuals and
families to achieve long-term selfsufficiency. Access to safe, clean,
and affordable housing is a critical need for those with limited
financial resources, she explained.
“We have residents from a
wide variety of challenging life
situations,” said Robson. “Many
of them are refugees, coming
from experiences of conflict
and loss. Others have experienced homelessness, or they are
currently in addiction recovery.
Each resident, no matter what
their challenge, deserves their
dignity — to feel respected —
and our staff works hard to meet
that need.”
Robson noted that staff
members also work hard to foster
the connections that make the
complex feel like a true home
to the 284 families who were
served there during the past
year. Residents can take part in
a community garden, tutoring
and ESL classes, health clinics,
and job fairs. A monthly food
pantry offered by the Tarrant
Area Food Bank, as well as legal
and immigration services offered
through CCFW, are just a few of
the ways that residents can find
needed assistance, said Robson.
CCFW Executive Director
of Housing Monica Quiroz explained that applicants to Urban
Manor must undergo background
checks, and individuals with a
history of violent or sexual crimes
cannot be accepted. “We provide
after-hours security on the property to help make this a safe environment,” said Quiroz. “We keep
the rental rates low and offer the
on-site services so that [residents]
can move out of poverty.”
Resident Abubakar Nyelenkeh, a refugee from the West
African country of Sierra Leone,
called Urban Manor a place
where he feels “successful” in
his efforts to become a productive member of society. “This
is a place of encouragement, of
hope,” he mused. “It is a blessing place. It is truly my home.”
Pope Francis embraces Jun Chura, 14, and
Glyzelle Palomar, 12, two former street children
who spoke during a meeting with young people
at the University of St. Thomas in Manila,
Philippines, Jan. 18. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Bishop Salvatore R. Matano of Rochester, N.Y., reaches
out to bless 4-year-old Lauren Hayes during the
diocesan Mass for Life Jan. 18 at Sacred Heart Cathedral
in Rochester. (CNS photo/Mike Crupi, Catholic Courier)
Catholic and Orthodox priests join other ministers for an
inaugural ceremony for a church made entirely from ice at
Balea Lac resort of Romania. (CNS photo/Radu Sigheti, Reuters)
Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., chats with
a Palestinian woman at St. Anthony Home for the
Elderly in Bethlehem, West Bank, Jan. 14. Bishop
Cantu is part of the Holy Land Coordination visit
for bishops from Europe and North America. (CNS
photo/Debbie Hill)
Jeanette Clark, dances during a birthday party
for centenarians Jan. 20 at the Little Sisters of the
Poor's Queen of Peace Residence in the Queens
borough of New York. Clark is one of eight
residents celebrating 100 or more years in 2015.
(CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
A woman wears a Nigerian ceremonial
head scarf for an annual Black History
Month Mass Feb. 1 at New York's St. Patrick
Cathedral. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
Growing as a Christian
‘Go Beyond All You Know’
and believe the Gospel
By Jeff Hedglen
At A sh Wednesday services,
when we come forward to receive ashes on our foreheads,
one of the phrases we hear is:
“R epent and believe the Gospel .” This phrase comes from the
beginning of the Gospel of Mark.
Jesus has just come out of his 40
day fast in the desert, and his
cousin John has just been arrested.
Jesus is beginning his ministry
and calling his first disciples, and
He leads with this rather shocking
and challenging proclamation.
He does not start his
Kingdom-bringing ministry
with: “Come have some food and
a good time,” nor does He say:
“Hey there, friend, would you like
to know how to have everything
and more in life?” He also does
not say, “So, in three years I am
going to lay down my life for the
forgiveness of your sins, then I am
going to be raised from the dead
conquering the power of sin and
death forever.” No, He leads with
“Repent and believe the Good
I recently heard a homily given by Father John Robert
Skeldon where he expounded on
this phrase. He said that in the
original Greek, the word repent
is the command form of the word
metanoia, which he says is literally translated as “to go beyond
your mind” or “to go beyond all
you know.” In essence he says this
The whole focus and reason
for Lent is for each of us to
see God more clearly than we
ever have up to this point.
(CNS file photo/Octavio Duran)
phrase is not a gentle nudge or
suggestion, but a command to total, constant, and continual conversion and transformation. This
word is packed with way more
than our general understanding of
the word repent.
It is no accident that the
Church uses this phrase to begin
the season of Lent, our own
personal 40-day journey in the
desert. The challenge to “go
beyond all we know and believe
the Gospel” is a pretty daunting
task. This is a call to get out of
our comfort zone and dive deeper
than ever before into what we
believe about Jesus and his saving
This is especially challenging
because even though the Church
liturgical calendar changes, our
daily schedule remains pretty
much the same. We still have to
Page 19
go to work or school. We still have
to make time to eat and sleep.
Parents still have to take care of
their children, and we all still have
to invest time and energy into the
relationships in our lives.
We do not have the luxury to
take a 40-day retreat and devote
our entire being to total transformation. Yet, it is to this that we
are called this Lent. So how do
we do this? To be honest there is
no one answer that will work with
every person. Each of us has to
decide for ourselves how best to
“go beyond our mind.”
For some it will be going to
Mass more; for others taking time
before the Blessed Sacrament; for
others it will be all they can do to
fit an extra 15 minutes a day for
quiet and prayer. For others their
Lenten sacrifice might take the
form of giving up some food or
North Texas Catholic
March / April 2015
Jeff Hedglen is director of Young
Adult Ministry and Campus
Ministry for the diocese. He is also
the founder and primary convener
of Camp Fort Worth’s many
editions. His column received second
place honors for best spiritual life
columns by CPA of the United
States and Canada in 2014.
activity they love to daily remind
them of their need for Jesus. Another idea is to look at the coming
weeks and find a weekend, day, or
half a day that you can take just
for yourself or your family and
have your own retreat. It might
take some organizing and sacrifice
to pull this off, but the return on
this effort could be life changing.
In truth God will honor
any effort you make with a pure
heart for “The pure of heart
shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
The whole focus and reason for
Lent is for each of us to see God
more clearly than we ever have
up to this point. Further, the
beauty of the Christian faith is
that we are never done growing,
seeking, and deepening our love
for Jesus.
This Lent let us embrace the
urging of our Savior to go beyond
our mind and be totally transformed by his love, so that, come
Easter, we are more ready than
ever to celebrate the resurrection
of Jesus.
God’s installation
A magnificent masterpiece
By Kathy Cribari Hamer
When plans for our blanketyblank-year class reunion began, the
conversations were enthusiastic,
creative , inclusive , flexible . Our behavior was, in short, exactly like we learned
at Pueblo Catholic High School whose
blankety-blank-year graduation we were
We were, notably, the “class of blankety-blank,” about whom there was a television series produced in 1977. The name of
the series was “Whatever Happened to the
Class of ‘Blank’”
I never watched it because I already
knew what happened to us. Nothing much.
This is probably why the series lasted for
only one season.
Still we are planning for the reunion of
our class, and suddenly the ruckus is louder
than a pep rally in the PCH gymnasium,
or a rooster in my daughter Abby’s chicken
coop; the disagreements are worse than our
nouns and verbs ever were, even when we
studied Latin. If there had been this much
conflict in the TV series about our class, it
would have lasted longer.
But we did learn a lot in high school,
and the reunion meetings have been a
reenactment of some of it. For every idea
presented, there has been a separate and very
much unequal idea competing with it.
Okay, I got that wrong, but I did not
take physics in high school.
What I am saying is that a lot of arguing has taken place in this otherwise holy
Catholic high school graduating class.
The other day my friend Jon asked me
what the reunion process reminded me of.
I said, attempting humor, that it reminded
me of the Steven King book, IT. In that
book, later made into a movie, a group of
children, grown up now, returned to their
hometown. Their quest was to recapture a
monster spider that lived in the sewer when
they were kids.
All our lives are the artwork;
all those around us part of the art
and part of the viewing public.
“IT’s back,” the movie trailer might
have said.
“They eliminated it once before — now
they have to do it again.”
We never had a giant spider living under
Pueblo, Colorado, but I liked the idea of coming together again. There would be an onslaught of old football players, old pep squad
presidents, old student journalists, maybe
even old nuns. After all, some of those sisters
were barely older than we were back then, and
they might still be around and active now.
This blessed event would be the reincarnation of the class of blankety-blank, and we
intended to make the most of it.
There were so many people I wanted to
see again. I hoped they’d show up at the reunion, if not the planning meetings, because
those were as frightening as a giant spider.
My friend Jon replied that my reunion
analogy was an interesting concept, but instead, the reunion planning reminded him of
a huge art project, titled Over The River, proposed to be installed in Southern Colorado.
Created by Bulgarian artist Christo and
his late wife, Jeanne-Claude, the installation
is to be a suspension of 5.9 miles of silvery,
luminous fabric panels high above the Arkansas River along a 42-mile stretch of the
river between Salida and Cañon City.
Christo and his wife began scouting for
Page 20
North Texas Catholic
a location for the temporary installation
in the 1990s, after visiting 89 rivers in
seven states.
But there were many objections and
even some lawsuits. The installation was
contested in court by an organization
which opposed it on the grounds that
the art would endanger animals in and
along the river. They sued the Bureau of
Land Management in 2012, and on Jan.
2, 2015, the Federal District Court upheld the Bureau of Land Management’s
Their artwork, from the beginning,
is always a process, the artists have said.
From public hearings, where local residents
voice their concerns, to the point where they
gradually came to understand what the artists are trying to do, and that it will not have
an adverse affect on the land or the people
— all of it is part of the art.
Because the artists’ sincerity and joy are
contagious, the art becomes a shared joy for
the artists, the participants, and the viewers.
That was a good viewpoint too, I told
my friend Jon.
So, we are all in this together, we two
realized. Not just the reunion planning, but
our previous school career, and the actual
reunion to come. We are the reunion.
And that seems profound to me.
In high school we learned to live in a
Christlike way; living it, we hopefully taught
it to our children. All our lives are the artwork; all those around us part of the art and
part of the viewing public.
We are God’s installation.
Kathy Cribari Hamer and her
husband are members of St.
Andrew Parish. Her column has
been recognized repeatedly by the
Catholic Press Association. For
information about her book, Me
and the Chickens , go to
March / April 2015
Believing in Unbelief
The twist in the story
By David Mills
He had been one of the few major
writers in England who was an open
Christian. He even wrote a short
book arguing for the Christian faith,
The kind of things he
admired in Gandhi, for
rejecting the secular alternatives
most of his peers in the intellectual
world believed to be obviously true .
began to see the problems with atheism.
The kind of things he admired in Gandhi, for example, were the kind of things
you have to deny when “you embrace
the bleak, muddled creed of a materialist
atheist.” The existence of language, love,
and music, “suggest that human beings
are very much more than collections of
His atheism couldn’t explain any of
these things. He became convinced —
as he had been years before — “that we
are spiritual beings, and that the religion
of the incarnation, asserting that God
made humanity in His image, and continually restores humanity in His image,
is simply true. As a working blueprint
for life, as a template against which to
measure experience, it fits.”
A statue of Mohandas Gandhi
Leaving Christianity can feel like
(CNS file photo/Babu, Reuters ) a liberation. You’re no longer the odd
man out. You don’t have to explain hard
beliefs, like the claim that God is perfectly
with it than most of them admit. Wilson
loving even though so many people suffer so
himself describes his conversion to atheism
much. You’re not embarrassed by what other
as “a bit of middle-aged madness.”
The twist in the story is that he became Christians do. And you don’t have to do
anything to be a good atheist.
more certain about his lost faith than he
But for some people, like A. N. Wilson,
had been about it when he believed it. He
it still doesn’t satisfy. “My departure from
became very religious about his atheism.
the Faith was like a conversion on the road
For the first time in his life Wilson felt
to Damascus,” he writes at the end of his arthe pleasures of pure, flat-out, undoubted
ticle. “My return was slow, hesitant, doubtbelief, even though it was belief in unbelief.
ing. So it will always be; but I know I shall
He had been a questioning Christian, but
he became a convinced atheist. At last, as he never make the same mistake again.”
said above, he fit in. He saw what’s what.
The feeling didn’t last. After a while,
he began to see that “so very many of the
people I had most admired and loved, either
in life or in books, had been believers.” Gan- David Mills is the author of Discovering
dhi was one. He was moved by the Christian Mary and his column, “Catholic Sense” runs
opposition to the Nazis and by the Lutheran in multiple diocesan publications. He and his
pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s serenity before
family attend St. Joseph Church in Coraopolis,
the Nazis executed him.
Pennsylvania. He blogs at
He hints but doesn’t really say that he
When a newspaper wanted an article giving a religious point of view, its editor
called him. And then, after writing a
biography of C. S. Lewis, A. N. Wilson
lost his faith.
It’s a story with a twist, and losing
his faith after writing a biography of
the most famous Christian writer of the
twentieth century isn’t it.
“At last!” writes Wilson in the
English magazine the New Statesman.
“I could join in the creed shared by so
many (most?) of my intelligent contemporaries in the western world — that
men and women are purely material beings
(whatever that is supposed to mean), that
‘this is all there is’ (ditto), that God, Jesus
and religion are a load of baloney: and worse
than that, the cause of . . . all the trouble in
the world, from Jerusalem to Belfast, from
Washington to Islamabad.”
He had finally (he thought) seen that
Christianity was very wrong. Its belief in “a
loving God in a suffering universe” is “nonsense.” Because Jesus thought the world was
going to end soon, the idea that he founded
a Church that would last is “preposterous.”
He had lost a “sense of God’s presence in
It’s a version of the usual ex-believer’s
list. Christianity’s foundational ideas can’t
be believed, and its Scriptures and traditions
can be proved to be wrong, and on top of
that, it doesn’t feel right anymore. The third
reason may often be the strongest. You never
really know why people lose their faith, but
personal reasons must have a lot more to do
example, were the kind of
things you have to deny
when “you embrace the
bleak, muddled creed of a
materialist atheist.”
Seeking God’s Path
Be still and hear the voice of God
By Father James Wilcox
R ecently, I had the pleasure of visiting
a friend. David was in seminary with me
and has remained friends with many of us
from seminary, however, at that time , with
prayer he discerned he was not called to
Since David just bought a new
home, two other priest friends and I decided to
go for a visit. During a conversation with David
on our trip, he reminded me that discipline fosters the spiritual life. Or better yet, the rhythm
of prayer, meditation, and conversation with
God are essential for growth in the spiritual life.
For all of us who are seeking God’s will
for our lives, discipline in the spiritual life is
necessary to reap a bountiful harvest. This is
especially true for those discerning their call
to priesthood and religious life. God speaks
through the rhythmic discipline of prayer.
Many analogies spring to mind concerning the disciplined life:
• The farmer’s routine of tilling, sowing,
weeding, and reaping.
• The rancher tending the herd and
scheduled milking of the cows.
• The athlete maintaining the required
regimen for achieving the goals.
• The musician’s habitual practice to
perfect their pitch, tone, rhythm, all in accord
with their fellow orchestra musicians.
The spiritual life requires the same consistency. However, spiritual progress requires not
only a disciplined prayer life, but also a docility
of life that is vulnerable and accepting of the
Holy Spirit’s movements in the heart. This
docility allows the beauty of the Lord to come
into our lives and impassion our hearts with
his desire.
Many of my male
friends joke about the
“honey-do lists” that their
wives prepare for them.
The husbands, for the most
part, approach the list and
begin the tasks of repairing
the fence, fixing a piece
of broken furniture, and
replacing lightbulbs.
It can be a temptation
to approach our prayer life
as solely a “honey-do list”
for God. After all, in his
Scripture God told us “Ask
and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be
opened to you” (Matthew
7:7). Rightly, we come before God with requests to
have certain things happen
in our lives. Still, beyond
lifting our petitions, prayer
must be a regular moment
when we silence ourselves
Page 22
North Texas Catholic
Father James Wilcox was ordained to the
priesthood in 2013 and serves as the Vocations
Director for the Diocese of Fort Worth.
to hear the voice of God in the stillness of our
hearts. The hush that comes over us when
we are docile to the movements of the Holy
Spirit allows the whisper of God to travel on
the breath of love deep into our hearts, minds,
and souls. The grace of his voice, heard with
a demeanor of docility, explodes within us and
ignites us to answer his call for our lives.
In this Year of Consecrated Life, we have
only to look at men and women religious who
have felt the breath of God in their hearts
and with his grace have committed their lives
to the service of God’s love in service of his
people. These men and women are dynamic
examples of discipline and docility, participating in and being open to the movements of the
Holy Spirit working in their lives.
Last year, Pope Francis spoke about the
docility of one of the apostles, St. Philip. The
Pope stated, “this makes us see that without
this docility or meekness before the voice of
God, nobody can evangelize, nobody can announce Jesus Christ: at the very most he will
be announcing himself. It’s God who calls us,
it’s God who starts Philip on that road. And
Philip goes forth. He’s docile.” Philip accepts
the call from God, leaves everything behind,
and sets off to evangelize.
The Lenten season is a great time to return to or begin a new disciplined prayer life.
Please consider holding the seminarians and
those considering priesthood or religious life in
your prayers. Cut the calendar of seminarian
names out, put it in your Bible, prayer book,
or breviary, and offer a prayer by name for the
seminarian listed on that day of the month.
May this Lent be a turning of your heart
through a disciplined prayer life and a docile
demeanor to hearing the will of God and have
the grace of courage to act.
March / April 2015
How to deal with temptation
By M arlon De L a Torre
When we talk about temptation, it often carries a negative connotation because it is
assumed to be something we
there’s a certain beauty in temptation in that a person is faced with
a decision to either act out the
temptation or not. Whether the
decision takes a split-second or is
drawn out, the person experiences
a battle between an attraction
that is contrary to right reason
and judgment and against God’s
St. Paul sheds light on this
interior conflict when he shares
his own struggles with doing the
very things he should avoid:
should not be subject to.
Did that which is good then
bring death to me? By no means!
It was sin, working death in me
through what is good, in order
that sin might be shown to be sin,
and through the commandment
might become sinful beyond
measure. We know that the law
is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold
under sin. I do not understand
my own actions. For I do not do
what I want, but I do the very
thing I hate... (Romans 7:13-15)
When faced with temptation to do something we know we
shouldn’t, we often do it anyway.
Our immediate rationalization
is the satisfaction of our human
appetite regardless of how we feel
The nature of temptation
The nature of temptation
rests in man's desire to seek an
alternative to God’s love. This
proposition can only appear
to last so long; eventually the
alternatives to God’s love do not
adequately fulfill the appetite of
The first order of temptation
Satan tells Adam and Eve
“You will be like God” (Genesis
The Catechism reminds us:
Tempting God consists in putting
his goodness and almighty power
to the test by word and deed.
[See: Luke 4:9; Deuteronomy
6:16] The challenge contained
in such temptations toward God
wounds the respect and trust we
owe our Creator and Lord. It
always harbors doubt about his
love, his providence, and his
power (CCC 2119).
We have become a self-centered society. Our understanding
of the world often shuns the truth,
beauty, and, goodness of who
God is and of the created order of
things. In other words, I am no
longer a child of God but a child
of myself. When we convince
ourselves that our own self-fulfillment is more important than our
relationship with Jesus Christ our
appetite for self-fulfillment will
never end and never be satisfied.
Only in Christ can man fill the
void in himself.
Enduring the trial
of temptation
Sacred Scripture tells us that
Jesus was tempted three times
(Luke 4:1-13) while in the desert
for 40 days and nights.
· Turn stone into bread.
· Authority over all the kingdoms will be given for complete
worship of the Devil i.e. renounces God the Father.
· Throw himself from the highest point of the temple, questioning
the faith and the power of God.
An important point to
remember as Jesus began his journey into the desert was that He
was filled with the power of the
Holy Spirit. This reflects Jesus’
awareness of the evil forces around
Him aimed to thwart his mission. We would do well to follow
Christ’s example of preparedness
through faithful prayer, adherence
to the law (Ten Commandments),
and faithfully living a sacramental life. A good starting point is
immersing ourselves in God’s
mercy by making an examination
of conscience, shunning those
elements of our lifestyle that lead
us into temptation and making
a concerted effort to receive the
Sacrament of Penance. There is
no reason why we should allow
ourselves to succumb to the lure
of temptation. St. James provides
sound advice on “enduring trials”:
Blessed is the man who endures
trial, for when he has stood the
test he will receive the crown of
life which God has promised
to those who love him. Let no
one say when he is tempted. ‘I
am tempted by God”; for God
cannot be tempted with evil and
he himself tempts no one; but
each person is tempted when he
is lured and enticed by his own
desire. (James 1:12-14)
Marlon De La Torre is the director
of Catechesis for the Diocese of Fort
Worth, and author of Screwtape
teaches the Faith: A guide for
catechists. He blogs at www.
‘ ... and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil’
The second to last petition of
the Our Father reflects our desire
to not concede to temptation
due to our trespasses. What this
means is we must foster genuine
desire to combat evil and not
fall prey to the emptiness of false
gods. There is a two-fold approach
to this petition. One: not to yield
to temptation; Two: not to be
allowed to enter into temptation
(See: Matthew 26:41). We must
remember, God does not tempt
anyone (CCC 2846).
As a final point, St. Paul
provides comforting words on
the issue of temptation and how
we can understand the power of
God’s love regardless of the trials
we face:
No temptation has overtaken you
that is not common to man. God
is faithful, and he will not let you
be tempted beyond your strength,
but with the temptation will also
provide the way of escape, that
you may be able to endure it (1
Corinthians 10:13).
Society of Catholic Apostolate (SAC) priests follow in
footsteps of engaging founder, St. Vincent Pallotti
Fr. Balaji Boyalla (SAC)
(left), current pastor
of Our Lady of Lourdes
Church in Mineral Wells,
and Fr. John Casey (SAC),
recently retired pastor
of St. Stephen Church in
Weatherford, stride down
the main exhibit hallway
of the Dallas Convention
Center as they attend
the University of Dallas
Ministry Conference in
2009. ( NTC file photo /
Juan Guajardo)
very Catholic of the Church of Jesus
Christ must rejoice because, as a
priest, religious or layman, he can utilize
his talents, knowledge, learning, studies,
power, status, profession, words, earthly
goods, or at least prayers, to do whatever is
possible to revive the faith of Jesus Christ,
to rekindle charity among Catholics and
to propagate it all over the world.
— St. Vincent Pallotti, Founder of Society of Catholic Apostolate
By Jerry Circelli
To truly understand the Society of the
Catholic Apostolate (SAC) “Pallottine”
priests who serve in the Diocese of Fort
Worth, local faithful should take a glance
back to the oppressed early 19th century Catholic Church in Rome and a discerning teenager
named Vincent Pallotti.
In 1811, at the age of 16, Pallotti felt
called by God to enter religious life — not a
politically correct decision at the time. Two
years earlier, Pope Pius VII had been taken
prisoner by France and Napoleon Bonaparte
was holding the pontiff in exile.
Ten years before Pope Pius VII’s imprisonment by France, his predecessor, Pope Pius VI,
died in French captivity after the occupation
of Rome.
A witness to the persecution of Christ’s
Church during his formative years, an undeterred Pallotti followed through on his calling
and was ordained in 1818.
Pallotti’s experiences gave him the resolve
to stand strong for Christ, as the Lord’s earliest
followers did, as he boldly proclaimed, “Every
Catholic an Apostle!”
His formation of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate flowed from a desire to unite
clergy with laity to proclaim the Word of God.
Today, this international community of
priests and brothers includes 2,300 members
living in more than 300 communities in 40
countries located on every continent.
Pallottine priests from the provinces of
Dublin, Ireland and Karnataka, India, have
served the Diocese of Fort Worth for several
decades and solid proof of their local impact
can be found at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic
Church in Mineral Wells. Last December, the
church completed a new 3,000-square-foot
fellowship center — St. Vincent Pallotti Hall.
The name honors the man who established the
SAC in 1835 and inspired a long line of Pallottine priests to serve the faithful at Our Lady of
Lourdes dating back to 1953.
The most recent of those priests is Our
Lady of Lourdes pastor, Fr. Balaji Boyalla
(SAC). Ordained in India, Fr. Boyalla came
to Our Lady of Lourdes in 2010, after serving two years at Holy Family Parish in Fort
Worth. He said the name of the St. Vincent
Pallotti Hall is a good fit for the parish.
“For many years, Pallottine priests have
served here,” said Fr. Boyalla, “but people really didn’t hear the name of Vincent Pallotti or
know about him.
“Now, hopefully, people will begin to
know who Vincent Pallotti was and know
about his contribution to the Church.
“He is a modern-day Saint who touches
people through his charism,” Fr. Boyalla said.
“People should know that Vincent Pallotti
is a special saint because he is a saint for laity.
He is the forerunner of the idea of bringing laity into a more active role in the Church.”
Fr. John Casey (SAC), retired pastor of
St. Stephen Catholic Church in Weatherford,
agrees with Fr. Boyalla’s assessment of the saint
who established the Society of the Catholic
“Vincent Pallotti was 100 years ahead of
Bishop Olson recently
consecrated Pallotti
Hall at Our Lady of
Lourdes Church in
Mineral Wells. The Hall
is named for St. Vincent
Pallotti, founder of
the Society of Catholic
Apostolate. Priests
from that society first
started serving Our
Lady of Lourdes in
1953. (Courtesy of Our
Lady of Lourdes Church)
his time,” Fr. Casey said. “He had the vision
that not only the priests and bishops should
be part of the apostolate, but all the baptized
should be involved.”
The Second Vatican Council, which
opened in 1962, 112 years after St. Vincent Pallotti’s death, addressed relationships
between the Church and the modern world,
including an emphasis on involvement of laity.
“All the baptized should have the opportunity
to work in God’s vineyard,” Fr. Casey said.
A Pallottine priest from a province in Ireland, Fr. Casey served the Church in Argentina and England before arriving in the Diocese
of Amarillo in 1977.
As a missionary priest who had immersed
himself in Spanish during his six years in
South America, the priest became fluent in the
Fr. Casey laughed as he recalled a moment, more than 30 years ago, when Bishop
Lawrence Michael De Falco — shepherd of the
Diocese of Amarillo at the time — overheard
him in a long conversation in Spanish with a
“He was surprised that this guy from
Ireland could understand and speak Spanish,”
Fr. Casey said. “I remember he put his hand on
my shoulder and he said, ‘There will always be
work for you in Texas.’”
The bishop’s words were prophetic, as the
Irish Pallottine priest has been in the Lone Star
State ever since, serving 24 years in the Dioceses of Amarillo and Lubbock, and 14 years
in the Diocese of Fort Worth at St. Stephen.
He is the 11th consecutive SAC priest to serve
as pastor of St. Stephen in a continuous line of
Pallottines extending back to 1953.
Fr. Casey credits his missionary society for
giving him the opportunity to learn the Spanish language and serve the people of God in
multiple tongues.
It is a gift that comes with being a missionary priest, Fr. Casey said.
Fr. Thomas D’Souza, SAC, the pastor of
the Catholic Community of Jack and Wise
Counties — including St. John the Baptizer
in Bridgeport, St. Mary in Jacksboro, and
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Decatur — is also thankful for his formation as a
Pallottine missionary priest.
“All my formation and who I am today, I
owe to them completely,” Fr. D’Souza said of
the apostolic society.
From a Pallottine province in India, Fr.
D’Souza said his work as a school principal
and service as a parish priest in an impoverished area of northern India were among his
greatest blessings. Learning the language of
the people there and serving the poorest of
the poor was challenging, the priest said, but
“I came out very strong in my vocation
and mission,” Fr. D’Souza said.
Also strong in his vocation and mission
from extensive missionary work is Fr. Matthew Sanka (SAC), who serves at St. Brendan
Church in Stephenville and its associated
parishes. Ordained in the East African nation
of Tanzania in 2002, Fr. Sanka was greatly
influenced by the Pallottine priests from Ireland who served at his diocese. A member now
of the same Irish province as those priests, Fr.
Sanka served the Church in Tanzania, Kenya,
and Ireland. He also furthered his studies in
Rome before arriving in the Diocese of Fort
Fr. John Casey (SAC), recently retired, was the 11th
consecutive Pallottine priest to serve as pastor of
St. Stephen Catholic Church in Weatherford in a
continuous line of Pallottines extending back to
1953 in that parish.
Worth in 2013.
Like the six other Pallottine priests serving
the Diocese of Fort Worth, Fr. Sanka is thankful for the spirit and mission that characterize
the SAC.
“We Pallottines, our charism and mission
is to work together with the laity,” said Fr.
Sanka. “This Year of Consecrated Life is an
opportunity to renew our commitment and to
re-affirm it in prayer.”
Society of the Catholic Apostolate, Pallottines (SAC), serving in the Diocese of Fort Worth
Fr. Reehan Soosai Antony
Parochial Vicar: St. John the Baptizer in
Bridgeport, St. Mary in Jacksboro, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Decatur
SAC Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Province; Karnataka, India
Fr. John Casey
Pastor, retired: St. Stephen in Weatherford
SAC Irish Province; Dublin, Ireland
Fr. Balaji Boyalla
Pastor: Our Lady of Lourdes in Mineral Wells;
St. Francis of Assisi in Graford; Dean of the
Southwest Deanery
SAC Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Province; Karnataka, India
Fr. Thomas D’Souza
Pastor: St. John the Baptizer in Bridgeport, St.
Mary in Jacksboro, Assumption of the Blessed
Virgin Mary in Decatur
SAC Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Province; Karnataka, India
Fr. John Karanja
Parochial Administrator: St. Stephen in
SAC Irish Province; Dublin, Ireland
Fr. Philip McNamara
Parochial Administrator, retired: Our Lady
of Guadalupe in De Leon, Sacred Heart in Comanche, St. Brendan in Stephenville, St. Mary
in Dublin
SAC Irish Province; Dublin, Ireland
Fr. Matthew Sanka
Parochial Administrator: St. Brendan in Stephenville and associated parishes
SAC Irish Province; Dublin, Ireland
More information on the Society of the
Catholic Apostolate
A long-time steward
‘Fr. Mac’ retiring after nearly 30 years of service to various parishes
By Brian Smith
he first time you see
[Father Phil McNamara], he’s like a priest you
would see in the movies,” said Julie
Lyssy, a parishioner at St. Frances
Cabrini Parish in Granbury, where
Fr. McNamara was pastor for a
number of years before moving on
to St. Brendan’s in Stephenville and
St. Mary’s in Dublin.
Fr. McNamara, SAC, who has
served in the diocese since 1985
will be retiring from active ministry
and returning to Ireland in the
upcoming weeks.
“He’s a very kind man, and
you feel very calm when you’re with
him. But he holds his ground,”
Lyssy said.
A number of his current and
former parishioners spoke about
the humble man, saying he is very
kind, with a commanding manner
and excellent sense of stewardship.
Lyssy remembered how Fr.
McNamara once stayed in a room
at the church while construction
was going on, so money wouldn’t
have to be spent on a rectory while
the church was being built. The
church’s 25th anniversary was this
Jerry Austin, Jr. has been a
member of St. Frances for about 40
years and has known “Fr. Mac” for
more than 30. He said Fr. McNamara was instrumental in funding
and overseeing construction of the
new church. But what has always
impressed Austin about his former
priest is his intellect.
Austin said that when Fr. McNamara gave a homily, “you would
feel like you were being spoken to
by a college professor.”
“He makes you think.”
Austin also spoke of Fr.
McNamara being the Friar of the
Knights of Columbus One Nation
Under God Assembly 2958, with
which he is heavily involved.
Jean Cate, a long-time member
of the church, said once you got to
know Fr. Mac, he would wow you
with his dry but wonderful sense
of humor.
Cate recalled how once she
was asked to bring a guest speaker
to a meeting of senior citizens. She
asked Fr. Mac — who appeared a
bit befuddled at the request — and
asked what he would talk about.
He wound up giving a talk detailing how the Baptists, Church of
Christ, and Methodists, broke off
from the Catholic Church and
formed their own denominations.
“His talk was so good, I had
members of the club asking if he
would come back and give another
talk,” Cate said. “He was able to
speak so intelligently and not
offend members of those other
religions. He is always so willing to
pitch in and help and I am going to
miss him.”
Jeannette Seifert has known
Fr. Mac for nearly 40 years, since
his first stint in Stephenville. Seifert
said he first came to town in the
mid 1970s, before he went to Granbury to help build that church,
then come back to Stephenville.
Seifert said Fr. Mac is a humble, frugal man who places others
before himself.
“If you give him something,
he’ll simply give it away,” Seifert
said. “Everywhere he’s been, he has
spearheaded the building of new
The priest is also generous
with his time. When Fr. McNamara returned from missionary
work in Africa, he embraced the
challenge of learning Spanish so
he could tend to the large number
of Hispanics at his Stephenville
Seifert told the story of an
impromptu baptism that happened
during Fr. McNamara’s first stint
at St. Mary’s in Dublin. A couple
were heading on a long trip and
they wanted the baby to be baptized beforehand.
“The mother went in and
spoke to Fr. Mac,” Seifert said.
“Within three or four minutes Fr.
Mac came out with everything
needed for the baptism. The baby
was baptized in the car and he sent
them on their way.”
To those who know him, such
a rapid, hospitable response doesn’t
come as a surprise.
Seifert recounted how St.
Mary’s built a new church building
in 2001 and 2002. Fr. McNamara
and parishioners hosted truck
raffles as a means to raise money
for the new building. The new
church, now debt free, seats three
times the people the old church did
and draws Catholics from Hico,
Fr. Phil McNamara
Hamilton, DeLeon, and surrounding areas. Fr. Mac was also instrumental in helping raise funds for St.
Mary’s Family Life Center, which
houses classrooms, a large kitchen
and gym. That facility is debt free
as well, thanks to the concerted efforts of Fr. Mac, Seifert said.
A friendly shepherd
After leaving legacy at St. Stephen, Fr. Casey retiring
By Brian Smith
ather John Casey has been
pastor at St. Stephen Parish
in Weatherford for 13 years,
some not remembering a time before he came to the parish.
St. Stephen parishioner Sophia Dederichs reminisced about
the support Fr. Casey has given to
activities at the parish.
Dederichs, who has coordinated the blood drives the church
has sponsored for the last eight
years. said in an e-mail that Fr.
Casey was a backer of the blood
drives, from the first.
“He has been supportive,
thorough, devoted,” Dederichs
said. “He was one of the first to
roll up his sleeves,” and he made
wise suggestions for the recruitment of donors.
Many know Fr. Casey for his
soft spoken, thoughtful nature,
but those who have known him
for a while like Dederichs, or even
a short time, like new parishioner
David Cunniwell and his wife,
Sandra, say they will always remember his thick Irish brogue.
“When you first hear him
speak, you notice that Irish accent
of his,” David Cunniwell said with
a laugh. Speaking of his homilies,
Cunniwell said, “he always has
such a wonderful message that hits
close to home.”
Dederichs echoed Cunniwell’s comments about his homilies, praising the topics Fr. Casey
“He has a sense of humor,”
Dederichs said. “His homilies are
short and sweet and include such
germane topics as service, family,
gratitude, forgiveness, and praying
for our youth to stay close to Holy
Mother Church.” She noted that
he often opens the Bible to quote
from Scripture on the pulpit. “He
is a very godly man,” she said.
Brian Kechnie, a lector and
eucharistic minister team leader at
the church, has other fond memories of the man.
“Fr. Casey is truly a holy
priest, who always presented the
Eucharist in a sincere holy manner. His sermons constantly reminded us of our heritage and the
importance of passing it on,” Kechnie said. “When I approached
him on introducing the Dynamic
Catholic program he was very supportive, and the results have been
outstanding. I personally will miss
him and will always be praying
for him.”
Deacon Carlos Frias has
known and worked alongside Fr.
Casey for years at St. Stephen. The
deacon said that the priest holds
an intense humility and desire to
treat others as friends — not as
laity or strangers.
The deacon recalled how
throughout the years, Fr. Casey
has invited him to dinners,
retreats, talks, and workshops
and has always been a source of
support for him. But Fr. Casey’s
ability to relate extends to the rest
of his flock, the deacon added,
explaining how the priest was
instrumental in helping Hispanic
parishioners start a grupo de oracion that has been together for two
years now. Fr. Casey didn’t stop
there. As soon as the meetings
started, organizers found him sitting with group members, listening attentively and offering input
when appropriate; the teacher as
student. He’s been a regular since.
“He joins us to listen, not
to judge,” said Dcn. Frias, “He’s
always ready to learn something
new. What humility he has….”
In the 11 years that the deacon
has known Fr. Casey, he has seen
him continually help those seeking
his aid — especially when it comes
to the spiritual. Even minutes bePAGE 27
Fr. Casey (center) walks with parishioners at St. Stephen's
first Hike for Life in 2010. (Photo by Juan Guajardo / NTC)
fore Mass, Fr. Casey can be found
donning his stole and offering
confession to parishioners.
“I’ve never seen Fr. Casey say
‘no’ to the people,” Dcn. Frias
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Missionary Catechists of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and
Mary are always on call for God
By Susan Moses
Each week in our diocese, God works
through eight religious sisters to perform a modern day loaves and fishes
miracle. Instead of feeding thousands of hungry bodies, these eight women feed the minds,
spirits, and souls of thousands of Hispanic
The Missionary Catechists of the Sacred
Hearts of Jesus and Mary serving our diocese
strive to take the mercy and love of the heart of
Jesus to families. Their mission usually begins
with religious instruction.
For example, take Sister Eva Sanchez,
MCSH, who serves as Director of Religious
Education at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in
Fort Worth.
“Everything derives from catechesis,”
Sr. Eva explained. “You’ve got to understand
the love of Jesus, understand the Gospel, and
understand that Church teachings are from
the Bible.”
Holy Name accommodates its 1,500 students by offering nine sessions of CCD: four on
Saturday and five on Sunday. At 8:30 Saturday
morning, you can find Sr. Eva greeting the
students and their parents as they enter. When
each session begins, she visits every classroom.
She flips rapidly between English and Spanish, wanting students to know their prayers
and discuss their faith in both languages. In
some classes, she gathers students for prayer;
Back row, from left: Sr.
Adela Benoit and Sr. Eva
Front row, from left: Sr.
Rafaela Landeros, Sr. Edid
Torres, Sr. Midory Wu, Sr.
Aracely Lobatón, and Sr.
Rosa María Rodriguez.
Not Pictured:
Sr. Yolanda Piñeda
(Photo by Sr. Yolanda
others get a lesson on reading God’s Word or
the sacraments. She gives each catechist thanks
and encouragement, then she moves on like a
whirlwind to the next class.
Although Sr. Eva focuses primarily on the
parish youth, she also teaches parents whose
children are undergoing sacramental preparation, and she instructs more than 100 catechists
and assistants who teach CCD at Holy Name.
Education is the primary focus of the
Missionary Catechists, but they support their
parish in other ways, too. “The Missionary
Catechists are huge collaborators, and they
work with each parish priest to determine how
best to provide pastoral support,” said Sister
Yolanda Cruz, SSMN, Vice Chancellor for
Parish Services and Women Religious and
Sister Eva Sanchez
shares God’s love with
a class preparing for
first holy Communion
at Holy Name of Jesus
Parish in South Fort
Worth. (NTC / Susan
Associate Director of Vocations for Women.
“Many serve as directors of religious education
or directors of Hispanic pastoral ministries.
In the past, two served as pastoral administrators in a predominantly Hispanic, economically challenged mission parish and managed a
building campaign.”
As the Coordinator of Hispanic Ministries
at St. Bartholomew Church in Fort Worth,
Sister Yolanda Piñeda, MCSH, divides her
time between teaching, social ministry, and
pastoral care.
Sr. Yolanda literally has the last word at
the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry.
As guests leave with their groceries, she offers
them bread and any fresh produce available.
Then she prays with them, gives them a warm
smile, and exhorts them to “Take your family
to church” or “Pray with your children.”
Since she came to the parish in 2011, she’s
been making home visits to assess families’
needs and offer special assistance. She teaches
a Spanish Bible study and attends many more
classes and meetings, both in English and
Spanish. She also holds communion services at
nursing homes.
“We are here for everyone. We are all one,
all children of God, united and seeking to live
out God’s Word,” said Sr. Yolanda.
Father Jack McKone, pastor of Sacred
Heart Church in Wichita Falls, recognizes
that unity can be difficult. “A real challenge in
serving Latinos is that they are not one homogenous culture. Many have Spanish surnames
Sr. Yolanda Piñeda says sharing the Gospel with
those in need is her source of joy. (NTC / Susan
but don’t speak Spanish at all; others speak
very little English, and the great majority live
somewhere between.”
Missionary Catechists see themselves as a
bridge to help immigrants adapt to this country. “The Hispanic families need to keep their
faith, keep their family values, and continue
their education so they can enrich the American culture. We want to bring people together,
not divide the communities,” said Sr. Eva.
To foster unity within the Hispanic community in Wichita Falls, Sister Adela Benoit,
MCSH, and Sister Rafaela Landeros, MCSH,
developed a liturgy that highlighted the Feast
of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The sisters began
with a script about the Virgin of Guadalupe
and St. Juan Diego. Parishioners responded
with tremendous enthusiasm. With the sisters’
help, they found young people to play the roles
of the actors in the play, created a simple set,
and made costumes. The sisters helped plan
rehearsals and the reception that followed the
Mass, which featured a mariachi band and
dancing by the matachines from the neighboring Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.
“We quickly saw that the entire process of
producing a liturgy, with the play as the principal part of the homily, became a catechetical
vehicle for the youth,” said Fr. Mckone. “The
children really entered into the story of the
Virgin and a poor Indian and the building of
the church dedicated to our Blessed Mother
that became a focal point for evangelizing an
entire country. The sisters brought the parish
together to accomplish this,” said Fr. McKone.
The sisters also worked with Father
Richard Kirkham to produce the same play at
St. Jude Thaddeus in Burkburnett. Although
they only arrived in Wichita Falls in the fall of
2014, they have made an impact throughout
the Northwest Deanery with catechesis and
pastoral counseling, visiting people in their
homes from Wichita Falls to Chillicothe.
Missionary Catechists of the Sacred
Heart of Jesus and Mary first came to the
diocese on Oct. 8, 1960, when three sisters
arrived to serve at Immaculate Heart of Mary,
St. Patrick Cathedral, and San Mateo, the
mission church associated with St. Patrick’s.
Currently, the sisters serve at eight parishes:
Sacred Heart and Our Lady of Guadalupe in
Wichita Falls; Holy Name of Jesus, Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Paul the Apostle, and
St. Bartholomew in Fort Worth; St. Francis of
Assisi in Grapevine; and St. John the Apostle
in North Richland Hills.
Mother Sofia Garduño, a teacher, founded
Missionary Catechists wear a medallion with Jesus
depicted on one side and Mary on the other. (NTC
/ Susan Moses)
the order in Mexico City in 1918, a time of religious persecution. Currently, 140 sisters serve
in Mexico, Spain, Africa, and the U.S.
Although eight sisters have greatly increased the scope of religious education and
pastoral care to Latinos in our diocese, Sr.
Yolanda lamented, “We are limited in time and
in number, and our community has great needs.
We cannot serve every person who needs help.”
Despite their small number, Missionary
Catechists have a large influence on 350,000
Hispanic Catholics in the diocese. One parishioner from Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish
spoke tearfully of the joy he felt when he saw
sisters once more in his parish. Father Manuel
Holguin of St. John’s echoed the sentiments of
each pastor when he “recognizes and respects
the great contribution that Sister Aracely Lobatón offers to the Hispanic community.”
Sr. Eva said, “You’ll find us in the middle
of the people. We’ll be at CCD and at Mass,
and we’re also visiting the sick, attending funerals, going to nursing homes. We are always
on call for God.”
Missionary Catechists of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary
serving in the Diocese of Fort Worth
Sr. Adela Benoit, MCSH,
Hispanic Ministry Formation; Sacred Heart
Parish, Wichita Falls
Sr. Aracely Lobatón, MCSH,
Director of Hispanic Ministry; St. John the
Apostle Parish, North Richland Hills
Sr. Edid Torres, MCSH,
Hispanic Pastoral Ministry; St. Paul the
Apostle, Fort Worth
Sr. Rosa María Rodriguez, MCSH,
Director of Hispanic Pastoral Ministry;
St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Grapevine
Sr. Yolanda Piñeda MCSH,
Pastoral Ministry; St. Bartholomew Parish,
Fort Worth
Sr. Midory Wu, MCSH,
Youth Formation; Immaculate Heart of Mary
Parish, Fort Worth
Sr. Rafaela Landeros, MCSH,
Director of Hispanic Ministry; Our Lady of
Guadalupe Parish, Wichita Falls
Sr. Eva Sanchez, MCSH,
Director of Religious Education; Holy Name of
Jesus Parish, Fort Worth
To learn more about the Missionary Catechists,
Msgr. Joe Scantlin, with 55 years as a priest says, quite simply:
‘I’ve just been happy as a priest’
By Joan Kurkowski-Gillen
When you ask longtime Most
Blessed Sacrament parishioner Becky Lucas to describe
her pastor’s approach when it
comes to tending his flock,
she recalls the death of a young
Marine who was buried from the
Arlington church.
A suicide bomber killed
Corporal Phillip McGeath, 25,
in Afghanistan during Operation
Enduring Freedom. His body lay
in state in Most Blessed Sacrament’s chapel the night before his
January 2012 funeral.
“Fr. Joe was a healing presence in the midst of great tragedy,” she said, remembering how he
reached out to the slain soldier’s
parents who had two other sons
in the Marine Corps. “He was so
encouraging to them and couldn’t
do enough to help them heal.
His great strength is an ability to
bring the love and compassion of
Jesus to people.”
Personable. Funny. A listener.
Welcoming. Engaging. A gentle
soul. Humble. Those words, offered by friends, define Monsignor Joseph Scantlin — a man
who has spent 55 years serving
God and his Church.
Why did he want to become
a priest? It’s a question the Fort
Worth native gets asked a lot.
When he was a boy playing baseball with classmates near Holy
Name Church and St. Ignatius
Academy, only five percent of the
city’s population was Catholic. His
mother, Nona, was a convert, and
his father, Clarence, belonged to
no particular denomination before
embracing the faith later in life.
“I didn’t come from a very
religious family,” explains the
monsignor, who prefers being
Msgr. Joseph Scantlin, who prefers to be called Father Joe, poses with
some of his baseball memorabilia. (NTC / Joan Kurkowski-Gillen)
called “Father Joe.” “I don’t really
have any Catholic relatives on
either side of my family.”
But both parents were supportive when he decided to enter
the seminary after graduating
from Laneri — the all boys high
school on Fort Worth’s South Side
operated by the Benedictines.
“I thought I could serve
God’s people, and that was one
of the ways it was done,” Fr. Joe
says simply. “I got into seminary
life which was very structured in
those days.”
After spending summers
at home, the young seminarian
reaffirmed his vocation each fall
and returned to his theology, philosophy, and Latin studies in San
Antonio. “I recommitted every
year,” Fr. Joe remembers. “That’s
discerning. And you had a long
time to discern because we were
in the seminary for at least eight
Since his seminary years,
the 82-year-old monsignor has
worked for six bishops and received seven different church assignments. Moves around North
Texas were infrequent but diverse.
“I’ve been all over the dioPAGE 30
cese, in rural areas and the city
— big parishes and small ones,”
he says.
Meeting people is the most
rewarding part of his ministry.
“My life is here and the
people I serve are my family,”
the soft-spoken priest says from
his light-filled office at Most
Blessed Sacrament — a parish
with 1,800 families. “In many
ways, I’m doing the same thing I
did 50 years ago — ministering
to people needs. You celebrate the
milestones in people’s lives along
with the deaths. Some you expect.
Some you don’t.”
Being present for the griefstricken, listening to them talk,
and letting them cry is a familiar
duty for the longtime pastor.
MBS parishioner and fellow
baseball aficionado Bill Quinn
and his wife Doreen witnessed
the priest’s compassionate nature
when their twin grandsons were
born prematurely in 1998. One
baby was stillborn and the other
in critical condition when they
called the church.
“Fr. Joe was there a short
time later to counsel us,” Quinn
says. “He’s a great listener who
makes time for his parishioners.
You couldn’t ask for a better
The transplanted New Yorker
is also familiar with his pastor’s
lighter side. Both diehard Texas
Rangers fans, the pair traveled to
Wrigley Field in Chicago, Boston’s Fenway Park, and Yankee
Stadium for games.
At the Chicago game, “People
started texting Fr. Joe to say they
saw him on TV,” says Quinn, remembering his companion’s witty
response. “I’m glad I didn’t tell
people I was on a retreat somewhere,” the priest quipped.
“In many ways, Fr. Joe is
very much like Pope Francis,” says
Father John Robert Skeldon, who
spent his pastoral year in seminary
shadowing the experienced pastor. “There’s a real emphasis on
mercy, gentleness, and wanting to
help people discover the presence
of God at work in their lives,” the
young pastor suggests.
“I learned how important the
ministry of presence is in people’s
lives,” he explains. “In the midst of
difficult times, there really aren’t
any words to say. It’s just being
present to hear people’s stories and
what they’ve struggled through.”
Fr. Joe keeps a reminder of
one of those difficult times on a
shelf in his office. Perched near
some memorabilia given to him by
baseball legends Nolan Ryan and
Steve Buechele, is a photograph
of fallen soldier Cpl. Phillip McGeath with his brothers and fellow
Marines, Kenneth and Allen.
Helping parish families deal
with the sorrows and joys of life
has kept him working beyond the
age of retirement.
“Being a servant to God’s
people is very rewarding,” he says,
humbly. “I’ve just been happy as
a priest.”
Books, chores, cama
A glimpse of what it's like to wal
Story and photos by Susan Moses
6 a.m.
The love of God is more powerful than
the lure of sleep for the 72 young men at
Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving. By 6:20
a.m., it’s quiet indoors and out, but the joy
in the chapel is palpable as silent seminarians
sit ready to begin the morning Liturgy of the
Hours, followed by daily Mass.
“Once God starts tugging at your heart,
He will not stop until you follow his plan.
Now that I am following God’s plan, I could
not be any happier. There is a joy in following God’s will and spreading the Gospel,” said
Brian Cundall of Little Rock, Arkansas.
At breakfast, the atmosphere turns radically different, as if a switch has been flipped.
Quiet reverence suddenly transforms to laughter. Two seminarians from the Fort Worth
Diocese, David LaPointe and Austin Hoodenpyle, join a table with other young men and
banter about college sports, speculate about the
difficulty of an upcoming literature exam, and
share family stories.
Although the cafeteria trays and breakfast
buffet would belong in any college setting,
some things are remarkable in their absence.
Sarcasm. Cheap humor. And cell phones,
usually omnipresent in this age group, are
strangely missing.
“You can’t have a good conversation if
you are also attending to your cell phone,”
explained LaPointe, from St. Andrew Parish
in Fort Worth. Upon graduating from Nolan
Catholic High School in 2012, LaPointe had
planned to attend St. Mary’s University in
San Antonio and pursue a career in campus
ministry. However, the day before graduation,
he decided to take a year to discern whether
God was calling him to the priesthood. His
year of lifeguarding and teaching CPR classes
could potentially save lives, but it convinced
LaPointe of a greater calling: to save souls.
LaPointe said, “When I first began to
consider the priesthood, I thought I’d become
a Franciscan or a Marianist, because I was
familiar with them from St. Andrew and Nolan. Then I started thinking about my friends
and family, and how we’ve been strengthened
by the Church and the sacraments, especially
the Eucharist. Plus, I have a real love for Fort
Worth and its people. Then I knew I wanted
to support the faith of families by being a
priest here in our diocese.”
8:50 a.m.
LaPointe, Hoodenpyle and most other
seminarians have begun the walk up the hill to
attend classes at University of Dallas. As sophomores, they are tackling Shakespeare, church
history, political science, and other liberal arts
courses. Junior and senior year will focus on
classes to earn their B.A. in philosophy with a
minor in theology.
“Knowing that you are studying for God
and for the people you will serve adds extra
motivation to do well in your classes,” explained LaPointe.
Established in 1965, Holy Trinity Seminary follows the model for priestly formation
developed in the Second Vatican Council, in
which priests are formed in relationship with
the people they will serve. By earning their
undergraduate degrees at the University of
Dallas, the seminarians interact with laypeople
on a daily basis.
Students from 15 dioceses attend Holy
Trinity Seminary. The five students from the
Fort Worth Diocese have bonded, in part
through their assignment last summer to parishes in Cisco, Eastland, Ranger, and Strawn,
where they conducted Bible studies, youth
retreats, and VBS. Rumors that they subsisted
on ketchup sandwiches are unsubstantiated.
11 a.m.
Students trickle back into the cafeteria for
lunch, a buffet served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
to meet varying class schedules. Some choose
to sit at the Spanish table to practice their
language skills.
It’s not quite accurate to say that seminarians are free in the afternoon. While LaPointe
and Hoodenpyle may be done with classes for
Hoodenpyle and
David LaPointe
bless themselves
after leaving
the evening
maraderie, and God
walk in the shoes of seminarians
From the Fort
Worth diocese,
L-R, Jason
Allan, Tyler
Dubek, Austin
Vecchio, and
David LaPointe,
prepare for the
priesthood at
Holy Trinity
Seminary in
the day, the emphasis shifts from the intellectual to the remaining three pillars of priestly
formation: pastoral, spiritual, and human.
Each semester, students determine goals
and a plan of action specific to each pillar. For
example, for the pastoral pillar, students are
assigned a weekly pastoral practicum, which
may include hospital or prison ministry, nursing home visits or RCIA, or youth education at
a local parish.
“As the formation advisor for sophomores
and juniors, I meet with my students individ-
ually every three weeks to make
certain all four pillars are coming
together. These are crucial years to
grow in maturity, self-knowledge,
compassion, and leadership,”
said Rev. Jonathan Wallis, a Fort
Worth diocesan priest.
“When I was a freshman,
I wondered if I had the abilities
to be a priest. But I’ve learned to
trust the process, and the Holy
Spirit will make it possible,” said
Hoodenpyle attended a
Methodist church growing up, but felt like
something was lacking in his life. He joined a
confirmation class at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Granbury and converted to Catholicism
during high school. His family was surprised
by his decision to enter the seminary. “Initially,
most of them would have preferred that I follow my original plan to attend Texas A&M,
but they’ve seen how happy I am here and their
support has grown.”
During the afternoon, some students may
do their pastoral practicum, attend a weekly
class in human formation, or meet with their
formation advisor or spiritual director. Others
use the time to study, exercise or pray. Students
are also assigned chores — LaPointe cleans
bathrooms and Hoodenpyle staffs the canteen
this semester. Others wipe tables and vacuum
the cafeteria.
“Time management is crucial to staying
on top of your classes and other responsibilities,” said Hoodenpyle.
Like any college,
learning to do
laundry is part
of the seminary
5:15 p.m.
Students gather in the chapel for Evening
Prayer, followed by Eucharistic adoration, and a
Afterwards, intense veneration once again
shifts rapidly to a lively, convivial atmosphere
at 6 p.m. dinner. Served family style, two students at each table bring dishes to and from the
kitchen. Seating is assigned and rotates, so that
each student has the opportunity to converse
with every other student over the course of the
Announcements follow dinner, ranging from an ear-splitting rendition of “Happy
Birthday” to students offering to share snacks,
recruiting for an intramural team, or arranging
a study group.
8:15 p.m.
In the evening, preparing for the next
day’s classes may take precedence. If not, the
intramural sports fields, the television room,
and a game room with pool, ping pong, and
chess provide opportunities for relaxation and
“Other than shutting down at 10:30, life in
the seminary is very normal,” said Hoodenpyle.
“Priestly formation is a beautiful work,
cooperating with the grace of God as He turns
young adult males into spiritual fathers,” said
Father James Swift, the rector of Holy Trinity
Seminary. “Living in community provides a joyful, supportive and respectful environment for
seminarians to continue to discern their call and
develop in humanity and priestly formation.”
Left: Living in
community can
include spotting
weights for a fellow
Right: After classes
at University of
Dallas, seminarians
return down the hill
to their community.
Background photo: A view of the Codex
Sinaiticus, the world's oldest known Bible
containing the complete New Testament.
(CNS photo/Kieran Doherty, Reuters)
Local Serra Clubs help young
men and women to be attentive to
God’s call for religious vocations
By Jerry Circelli / Correspondent
The three-part mission of the Serra Club is
simple and closely aligned with the work
of its namesake,
Blessed Father Junípero
Serra. The Catholic lay organization’s goals
are to:
• foster vocations to the priesthood and
support priests;
• encourage vocations to consecrated life;
• help its own members respond to God’s
Ordained into the Franciscan Order of
Friars Minor in 1737, Blessed Fr. Serra was
widely regarded for his brilliant mind. He used
it to teach philosophy and theology to seminary students in Spain.
In 1750, he combined his wisdom with
missionary zeal to spread the Word of God to
the New World in Mexico and Northern California. Fr. Serra encouraged others to join him
in his ministry that led to the establishment of
Blessed Junípero Serra, a Spanish Franciscan who
ministered in what is now the U.S. and Mexico, is
pictured in an undated painting. (CNS Photo)
21 missions along a 700-mile stretch of California’s Camino Real, or Royal Road, from
San Diego to Sonoma. For his perseverance in
the face of great personal sacrifice, Fr. Serra
was beatified by St. John Paul II in 1988.
According to Catholic News Service, Pope
Francis announced Jan. 15 that in September,
he hopes to canonize Blessed Serra, among great
evangelists whom he planned to canonize in an
effort to celebrate the practice of evangelization.
“Now in September, God willing, I will
canonize Junipero Serra in the United States.
He was the evangelizer of the West in the
United States,” the pope was quoted as saying in the article. He did not specify when or
where the canonization might take place.
In the spirit of carrying on Blessed Fr.
Serra’s work, four men at a luncheon in
Seattle started the international association
that bears his name. Today, it has grown to
include more than 20,000 members participating in 800 clubs in 37 countries. More than
9,000 of those Serrans are in 255 Serra Clubs
in the United States. In the Diocese of Fort
Worth, the membership total is about 80 Serrans and growing, at two clubs — The Serra
Club of Fort Worth and the Serra Club of
Locally, Serrans carry out their mission by
hosting and participating in several activities
throughout the year. Among the most notable
is the Vocation Awareness Program (VAP).
Sponsored by the Serra Clubs in the Diocese of Fort Worth and the Diocese of Dallas,
the VAP is a weekend retreat to help single
Catholic men and women learn more about
the lives of priests, sisters, and brothers. It
includes workshops, panel discussions, a Q&A
forum, and one-on-one talks with those who
have entered religious vocations. The Serra
Club helps sponsor, facilitate, and promote
this program, which includes private rooms,
furnished meals, and no fees for those attending. The VAP is held annually in the summer
Diocesan Vocations Director Father James Wilcox
addresses the Fort Worth Serrans at a dinner Nov.
19. (NTC / Jerry Circelli)
at the University of Dallas, adjacent to Holy
Trinity Seminary in Irving.
“One of the most important things that
the Serra Clubs in Fort Worth and Arlington
have done over the years,” said Fort Worth
Bishop Michael Olson, “has been to initiate
the Vocation Awareness Program along with
their Serran brothers and sisters in Dallas.”
Himself a Serran, Bishop Olson said Serra
Clubs help promote a culture of vocations. It is
Christ Himself, he said, who actually initiates
the call to the priesthood.
“It’s not something we promote ourselves.
We promote an awareness of it and an attentiveness to listen to the voice of God,” the bishop
emphasized. “Serrans encourage young men and
young women to consider a vocation. They promote the attentiveness to listen to a vocation.”
Ron Thompson, president of the Fort
Worth Serra Club, explained that Serra Clubs in
the dioceses of Fort Worth and Dallas work together in a variety of ways to help that happen.
In the months leading up to the VAP,
Serrans give talks at local churches and make
presentations to youth groups, encouraging
young men and women considering vocations to attend. Serrans also raise funds to
help cover food and expenses, offer guidance,
and facilitate at the program. “Basically,” said
Thompson, “we’re there to help in any way
that we can.”
The Serra Clubs from the dioceses of Fort
Worth and Dallas have hosted the VAP every
year since 1990 to help 1,000 young people in
the process of discerning their vocations in the
In addition to the VAP, Thompson said
Serrans are also driven to show their appreciation to those who follow God’s call to religious
life. Serrans, he said, host appreciation dinners
for priests, seminarians, and religious sisters at
various times during the year.
Serra Club of Arlington-Metro President
Tim Moloney said his group expresses the
same kind of appreciation several times each
year. They also host luncheons for Catholic
students at the University of Texas at Arlington. “We like to connect with them and stay
engaged,” said Moloney.
Other times, Moloney said, club members
bring donuts to Holy Trinity seminarians and
show appreciation for their response to God’s
“I think it’s important for our young people and seminarians to know there are strong
Catholics committed to helping them through
their journey and connecting with them so that
they know they are not alone,” Moloney said.
“We want to build relationships that
will last a lifetime. We want people to say, ‘I
remember those Serrans, they fed me at their
dinners, or they supported me in some way.’”
Those were the words straight off the
tongue of seminarian John Martin when he
was asked about the Serra Club. “The Serrans
always fed us. That’s probably what kept me
coming back so much,” he joked.
On a serious note, Martin said attending a
VAP “Come and See” event helped him focus on
a voice that he had been hearing for a long time.
“I’ve heard the call all my life,” Martin said, “but
that strengthened it and brought it to light. And
that let me know that, yes, this can happen.”
Martin, a seminarian studying for the
Diocese of Fort Worth, is currently serving
his pastoral year at Sacred Heart Church in
Wichita Falls. He has completed four years of
studies at Sacred Heart School of Theology in
Hales Corners, Wisconsin.
Thompson and Moloney said their clubs
are also committed to praying for seminarians,
like Martin, and others considering entering
religious life.
Their clubs host monthly Holy Hours
around the diocese for Eucharistic Adoration,
quiet reflection, and prayer — all for vocations.
Each group also hosts a “31 Club,” which
involves members being assigned one day each
month to pray for vocations at Mass or by
praying the Rosary.
In addition to organizing poster contests
Above: Fr. Wilcox poses with members of the Fort Worth Serra Club at the Nov. 19 dinner. (Photo by Jerry
Circelli) • Below: Members of the Arlington Serra Club pose for a picture at St. Vincent de Paul Parish
in Arlington Nov. 12. (Photo courtesy of Arlington Serra Club)
and other activities to engage youth, local
Serra Clubs are also taking the initiative to
increase membership.
Those initiatives include assisting more
Serra Clubs to get started in the diocese and
finding new ways to involve more young adults
to participate in the VAP. New plans are also
being implemented that involve facilitating
discussions between seminarians and youth
groups around the diocese. Also in the planning are annual spiritual retreats to rekindle
the flame of the Serran mission for club
“We’re not about just getting together for
fellowship, although that’s a key part of it.”
Thompson said. “We really have a mission in
mind, and that mission is to bring in young
men and women to consider their vocations.”
Serra Club of Fort Worth
Ron Thompson, president
[email protected]
Serra Club of Arlington-Metro
Tim Moloney, president
[email protected]
Serra in the United States
Serra International
March 1, Second Sunday of
Cycle B Readings:
“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did
not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all,
how will he not also give us everything else along
with him?” — Romans 8:31b-32a
1) Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Psalm 116:10, 15-19
2) Romans 8:31b-34
Gospel) Mark 9:2-10
By Jeff Hensley
have long understood that
what God asks of Abraham,
the sacrifice of his own son,
born long after any child was
expected — or even thought
possible — was a foreshadowing
of God offering his only Son Jesus
for us all.
What God is asking in
Genesis 22 seems insane and
impossible — but only if He were
not both willing and planning to
do the same. When Abraham is
on the verge of killing his longawaited son, God intervenes and
March 8, Third Sunday
of Lent.
Cycle B. Readings:
provides a ram caught in the
bushes nearby.
All of this, of course,
anticipates the perfect sacrifice the
Father would offer in Jesus.
In the last few days, I have
connected with an Indonesian
priest serving the faithful in
Russia. He left his tropical home
“You shall not have other gods
besides me.” — Exodus 20:3
1) Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm: 19:8-11
2) 1 Corinthians 1:22-25
Gospel) John 2:13-25
By Jean Denton
e were new to town and
registering at our local
parish. The Christian formation
director welcomed us. “You’ll find
this is a Jesus-centered parish,”
he said.
My husband gave him a quizzical look. Later, he said, “Doesn’t
that go without saying? Isn’t every
Christian church Jesus-centered?”
That was many years ago.
Since then we’ve been in a few
parishes that somehow, occasionally seemed to lose that center.
For instance, I remember
once standing in a church foyer
just before Mass. People entering
the building had to pass through
a gamut of greeters in the 30-foot
distance between the front door
and the doors to the sanctuary.
Youth were having a car
wash, the Knights of Columbus
were selling tickets to a pancake
breakfast, and the women’s club
offered baked goods for sale.
A family walking through
the area seemed annoyed by the
commotion. I heard a teenager
Page 36
where he received his
formation as a Society of
the Divine Word priest to
minister in the sub-Arctic
cold of Russia. The photos
he shared on Facebook
showed the bright blue
Russian church where he
serves covered with deep
For a missionary priest from
Indonesia to serve in such a place
is an act of sacrifice reminiscent of
that asked of our father in faith,
It may seem to Father Milto
Seran like a bit part in the long
road of salvation history, but to
those of us who have been asked
so much less, it seems a major role.
The central role in this
drama of salvation is that of our
Lord Jesus who is revealed to
his disciples Peter, James, and
John in the passage from today’s
Gospel in Mark 9. Jesus’ relation
to the Father is revealed as He is
transfigured on a high mountain
where He shines brighter than
anything on earth could shine,
and God gives his followers the
ultimate message demanding our
attention and obedience: “This is
my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
No exclamation points needed,
but imagine the majesty of the
Have you sought God’s direction for your life — in great and small
remark, “Gosh, it’s like that story
when Jesus got mad at all the
merchants in the temple.”
That story is today’s Gospel.
Jesus, annoyed by the commotion, told the temple moneychangers, “Stop making my
Father’s house a marketplace.”
A marketplace scene indeed
has become familiar in churches
today. Maybe we’ve developed a
bad habit in how we support our
church and its ministry, forgetting
that if we value and revere God,
we don’t need any fundraising
exchanges for investing in the life
of Christ’s community.
In this week’s Old Testament
reading, God’s commandments
call us to have no other gods, to
respect our one and only God and
keep Him at the center of our lives.
When Jesus drives the moneychangers out of the temple,
He’s accusing them of distracting
people from God as their center.
Then He adds, “Destroy this
temple and in three days I will
raise it up.” Scripture explains that
He was referring to his own body
and his resurrection. But it’s a
warning that our worldly distractions can destroy the place where
God comes to dwell — whether it
is our faith community or our own
He will rise, though. He
explained that. God will forever
However, don’t we want to
maintain a dwelling place for God
at the center in our own lives?
How have you been distracted, recently, from having Jesus at the center
of your life? How can you maintain a proper dwelling place for God in
your own heart?
North Texas Catholic
March / April 2015
Word to life
March 15, Fourth Sunday
of Lent.
Cycle B. Readings:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” — John 3:16
sin is eternal death.
So in the next class
I gave a talk on sin. I
purposely painted a dark,
foreboding picture of the
reality of sin and how it
affects each of our lives.
I offered no hope and no
glimmer of light at the
end of the darkness of
sin in our lives. After the
lesson, I gave everyone a
piece of paper that simply
said, “I sin.” I asked them
to take the paper home
and put it someplace
where they would see it
every day, and when they
saw it, to think about the
1) 2 Chronicles 36:14-16,
Psalm 137:1-6
2) Ephesians 2:4-10
Gospel) John 3:14-21
By Jeff Hedglen
ears ago, a student in a
confirmation class I was
teaching said to me, “I’m doing
just fine, why do I need a
Savior?” His question took me by
surprise. It had never occurred
to me that these teenagers would
have no idea of their need for a
Savior and, furthermore, I was
not sure how to convince them of
this need.
After some conversation,
the other leaders and I decided
that the reason for this lack of
understanding was that the young
March 22, Fifth Sunday of
Cycle B. Readings:
1) Jeremiah 31:31-34
Psalm 51:3-4, 12-15
2) Hebrews 5:7-9
Gospel)John 12:20-33
By Sharon K. Perkins
s I write this, the fields near
my mother’s home are lush
and green with winter wheat. I’m
the daughter of a farmer so the life
cycle of wheat was an important
part of my growing up; our family’s economy depended upon how
those tiny grains fared when they
hit the dirt.
Long before the seedlings
made their appearance, my dad
would walk out to the fields and
gently dig down to check whether
the seeds were undergoing the
changes necessary to produce
people did not know anything
about the nature of sin — that we
all sin and that the consequence of
“Sir, we would like
to see Jesus.”
— John 12:21
young plants.
After the
seed’s tough
outer husk
had been
broken down
and the
inner food
store used
up, the baby
plant would
emerge: a
root to be embedded in the soil
and a barely recognizable shoot
that would eventually break
through the crusty surface to reach
for the sun.
Still, it would be months
before that bare patch of ground
would be recognized for what it
was: a wheat field.
Page 37
sins they had committed.
The next week I told the
rest of the story of salvation and
how, as we read in this week’s
Gospel, “God so loved the world
that he gave his only Son, so that
everyone who believes in Him
might not perish but might have
eternal life.” At the end of the
class, I gave them another sheet of
paper that said, “I sin, Jesus loves.”
These four words hold the
nucleus of the Gospel message. It
is a simple truth that is not always
easy to grasp. In a world where we
like to pull ourselves up by our own
bootstraps, it is hard to admit that
we stand in need of anything or
anyone. In the case of sin, our need
has never been greater, but the love
of God has never been stronger.
When did you come to know you need a Savior? In what ways have you
experienced the love of God?
Jesus picks up the metaphor
in today’s Gospel to remind us of
the process that is required not
only to become our truest selves
but to be fruitful in such a way
that when people see us, they also
see Jesus.
Jeremiah first reminds us
that the same hand of creation that
designed the seedling wrote his law
in our hearts, drawing us out of
ourselves to reach for his light.
The psalmist sings of the Father’s immense and tender compassion that softens the tough shell of
sin and self-centeredness encasing
our being and preventing our becoming what we are created to be.
But sprouting is not a passive
exercise. Obedience to God’s call
and service of others — or in two
words, “losing oneself” — are
required for maturity, growth,
and fruitfulness. Most often, this
takes the form of fulfilling those
mundane, thankless or repetitive
tasks of diaper-changing, commuting to work, washing dirty
clothes, forgiving offenses, feeding
the hungry, submitting to those
in authority without grumbling,
grieving our losses, and apologizing to our spouses.
When we open our eyes to see
Jesus in other people and in trying
situations, and respond accordingly, we become those grains of
wheat dying to be reborn. We don’t
have to speculate about our life’s
purpose, nor will others wonder
who we really are. We will be the
image of Jesus in the world.
In what circumstance or aspect of my life am I still hardened by sin and
selfishness? What one thing can I do today to die to self?
North Texas Catholic
March / April 2015
Word to life
April 5, The Resurrection
of the Lord.
Cycle B. Readings:
1) Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
2) Colossians 3:1-4
Gospel) John 20:1-9
By Jeff Hensley
e forget how little Jesus’
disciples understood of
what happened when Jesus rose
from the dead, proving God is
the God of life. But when Mary
of Magdala announced the empty
tomb to the disciples, who were
gathered in prayer after Jesus’ crucifixion, they didn’t understand
much at all. When Peter and John
raced to the tomb and saw his
burial clothes lying there, their
eyes began to be opened — but
not all the way.
John, the author of the
“Then the other disciple
also went in … and he
saw and believed.”
— John 20:8ac
Gospel, says, “And he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he (Jesus)
had to rise from the dead.”
Matthew’s Gospel recounts
that the disciples failed to understand even on the day of Jesus’
ascension, even after having
spent 40 days with Him after his
resurrection, even only moments
before they were to receive their
April 12, Second Sunday
of Easter.
Cycle B. Readings:
world among people and in the
wonders of creation.
However, consider how hard
it would be to believe if you grew
up with little information about
Jesus, lived in an immoral environment, became a criminal, and
ended up at a young age locked
away in a prison. If Jesus suddenly
appeared there, would you believe
Father Tim Drake visits one
of Virginia’s high-security state
Page 38
commissioned us to preach to the
people and testify that he is the
one appointed by God as judge of
the living and the dead. To him
all the prophets bear witness, that
everyone who believes in him will
receive forgiveness of sins through
his name.”
Though I could offer witness
to God’s miracles in my own life
and those around me, nothing in
my experience can come close to
matching Jesus’ rising from the
dead. And only the Holy Spirit,
leading us to wisdom and understanding, can cause us to fully understand the significance of Jesus’
triumph over the grave.
Alleluia, He is risen indeed.
Have you fully understood the power of the Gospel brought to us by
Jesus’ resurrection, his victory over death?
“Jesus came, although the doors were
locked, and stood in their midst and said,
‘Peace be with you.’” — John 20:26
1) Acts 4:32-35
Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
2) 1 John 5:1-6
Gospel) John 20:19-31
By Jean Denton
his week’s Gospel is the
one in which the apostle
Thomas famously doubts Jesus’
resurrection even though the
latter suddenly appeared before
him within a locked room. Thomas can’t quite believe his eyes. He
needs to touch the wounds that
would identify his master.
Jesus is happy to oblige and
doesn’t belittle Thomas’ doubt.
But He extols the faith of those
who believe in his presence even
without seeing Him.
The faithful today believe
without seeing, and for many of
us it isn’t difficult as we recognize
evidence of Christ working in the
commission to go and
make disciples of all nations. Matthew writes of
the disciples, after seeing
Jesus where He had told
them to meet Him in
Galilee, “They saw Him,
they worshiped, but they
However, in the
reading from Acts that
opens this Sunday’s
Scriptures, Peter has full
understanding and boldly proclaims the Gospel.
After being fully empowered by
the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, he
proclaims the good news of Jesus
to a gathering of gentiles: “He
prisons every week. Those
facilities were built in remote
places in the Appalachian
Mountains, far from the state’s
population centers.
“What forever amazes
me,” Father Tim says, “is how
Christ always wants to be with
us wherever we are — even
locked in a prison.”
The authorities allow very
little time for inmates to leave
their usual confines for spiritual
help, so Father Tim rarely meets
them one-on-one for counsel or
But he celebrates Mass with
them, and that, he explains, is
what they most desire.
“The inmates really believe
that Christ comes to be with
them,” Father Tim says, “They
know that Christ loves the poor,
and they’ve read the Scriptures
that say, ‘I was in prison and you
visited me.’ They really believe
that and it means so much to
The inmates speak directly
to Jesus during Mass — and He
responds. Father Tim explains
this usually happens during the
prayers of the faithful. “They like
to share and they often minister
to each other as it becomes more
of a conversation. Their issues
mostly deal with guilt and seeking
forgiveness. I think they want to
know that Christ forgives them.”
They can only know that if
they first believe. Then, as Jesus
promises in the Gospel, they are
When have you had a difficult time believing Jesus is present? What can
you do to bolster your faith in times of unbelief?
North Texas Catholic
March / April 2015
Word to life
April 19, Third
Sunday of Easter.
Cycle B. Readings:
“Then he opened their minds to
understand the Scriptures.”
— Luke 24:45
1) Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
Psalm 4:2, 4, 7-9
2) 1 John 2:1-5a
Gospel) Luke 24:35-48
By Jeff Hedglen
hen I was a teen my
family moved from
Michigan to Texas. Before
we left, my father shared with
me what he called “the three-step
method to solving any problem:
Tell God your problem; forget
about it; when you see Him start
to work, jump in and help Him.”
At the time I did not think
much of it because I was 16 years
old and he was my dad. I didn’t
think he had any real information
of value.
When we got to Texas, my
father said we had to go to at
least one of every activity at our
new parish. We did not have to
go back (except for Mass), but we
had to go at least once. At the first
Bible study I attended, we were
studying Psalm 37. Verse 5 says:
“Commit to the Lord your way,
trust in him and he will act.” I
immediately thought: Hey, that’s
April 26, Fourth Sunday
of Easter.
Cycle B. Readings:
Has a passage from the Bible ever spoken to you directly? What is your
favorite Bible verse?
The owner works long hours
with no overtime pay so that the
business will turn a profit, and
if income isn’t sufficient to meet
payroll, the owner depletes his
own savings or takes a cut in pay
to cover the shortfall.
The owner, having the most
“skin in the game,” goes to incredible lengths to protect his or her
investment. The employee works
for a paycheck — the owner works
for the company.
Jesus makes this contrast in
Page 39
what is being revealed is the grace
of God. This is what the Gospel
is talking about when it tells us
that Jesus opened the minds of
the disciples to understand the
With grace, the seemingly
ordinary words on a page teem
with life and have the power to
penetrate the soul. This is but
one fruit that flows from the
resurrection of Jesus. The Christ
in glory desires for us to not only
read the revelation of God found
in Scripture, but to understand it,
embrace it, and live it.
Come Lord Jesus, open our
minds so we, too, may understand
your word.
“I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd
lays down his life for the sheep.”
— John 10:11
1) Acts 4:8-12
Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26,
2) 1 John 3:1-2
Gospel) John 10:11-18
By Sharon K. Perkins
’ve heard people voice some
common misconceptions
about small-business owners:
They don’t have to work hard
because they have employees to do
the work for them; they can take
time off whenever they want; they
can work fewer hours than their
hirelings; they can command a
larger salary with impunity. Talk
to the business owner, however,
and you get a different story.
While the owner has the
most to gain, he or she also has
the most to lose. If an employee
doesn’t show up for work, it’s the
owner who takes up the slack.
the three-step method
to solving any problem.
This was the first time
anything from the Bible
had ever spoken directly
to me.
This week’s Gospel
has this line: “Then he
opened their minds to
understand the Scriptures.” I really believe this
is exactly what happened
to me during that Bible
study years ago.
The Bible can be a confusing
book. A lot of it is best understood
with help from a good teacher or
a good commentary. But what
is even more necessary to seeing
today’s Gospel when he compares
the good shepherd to a hired man
who doesn’t own the sheep. The
shepherd/owner has the most to
gain and the most to lose, whereas
the hired hand can choose to save
his own skin by leaving the sheep
vulnerable to attack.
Jesus the Good Shepherd,
views us not simply as mindless
sheep to be rescued but as beloved
children of God to be treasured
and protected. He has invested his
total self in our welfare and as a
pledge toward our eternal destiny.
During the Easter season, we
celebrate a Lord and Savior who
doesn’t work for Himself but for
his Father, and who has quite
literally demonstrated the Father’s
extraordinary love and mercy by
putting his own skin — body,
blood, soul, and divinity — into
the game with the highest stakes
of all. Having willingly laid down
his life for his sheep at Calvary, He
continues to do so until all his scattered sheep are safe under his care.
This Easter season, how are you celebrating the Father’s extraordinary
gift of love and mercy given in Jesus? How can you more deeply invest
your own life in the welfare and destiny of Jesus’ flock?
North Texas Catholic
March / April 2015
2015, Año de la Vida Consagrada
La celebración honra a los que sirven a Cristo,
da la bienvenida a otros a estar atentos al llamado de Dios
Fotos de Donna Ryckaert
Por Jerry Circelli
M ás de 200 hombres y mujeres que han dedicado sus vidas a servir a Cristo y su Iglesia
llenaron las bancas de diez en fondo, en la
Catedral de San Patricio en Fort Worth, el 6 de
febrero, cuando la diócesis inició su celebración
del “2015, Año de la Vida Consagrada”. Sentados
detrás de ellos, un número igual de laicos participaron en el evento, mostrando su apoyo por
los sacerdotes, hermanos, hermanas y diáconos
quienes, viniendo de varias partes del mundo,
sirven a la Iglesia local.
Aproximadamente 100 sacerdotes sirven en
la Diócesis de Fort Worth, de los cuales cerca de
la mitad pertenecen a órdenes religiosas. También
sirven en la diócesis 87 hermanas religiosas, varios hermanos religiosos, y más de 100 diáconos
permanentes. Además, la diócesis cuenta con más
de 30 seminaristas que están preparándose para
servir en la diócesis, cuyo número de católicos
asciende a más de 700,000, en 28 condados del
norte de Texas.
La celebración en San Patricio incluyó Solemnes Vísperas presididas por el Obispo Michael
F. Olson, seguidas de la primera feria religiosa
en el Centro Pastoral de la Catedral. Ahí, los
laicos se reunieron con los sacerdotes, hermanos,
hermanas y diáconos, y tuvieron la oportunidad
de conocer a los miembros de más de 20 órdenes
religiosas que sirven en la diócesis.
Durante su homilía, el Obispo Olson dijo
que la Diócesis de Fort Worth debe mucho a los
hombres y mujeres de las congregaciones que
sirven a la Iglesia local y manifiestan su dedicación a Cristo por medio de sus votos de pobreza,
castidad y obediencia. El Obispo dijo que una
mujer o un hombre religioso vive su vocación “de
forma que nos inspire a vivir la vida de la Iglesia
como una comunión, centrada en Cristo, y con
el llamado universal a la santidad en el corazón”.
Al agradecer su servicio a los feligreses de
la localidad, el obispo dijo, “La Diócesis de Fort
Worth y yo, como su obispo, estamos muy agra-
uanto más
crecemos en
nuestra vocación tanto
más amamos a Cristo,
y a Cristo en la gente”.
—Hna. Roberta Hesse, SSMN
decidos por el ministerio de nuestras hermanas
y hermanos religiosos”.
“Su testimonio, especialmente el de su vida
en comunidad, es muy importante para nuestra
formación como Iglesia local, incluyendo al clero,
los fieles laicos, nuestras catequistas. Todos los
involucrados en la vida de la Iglesia necesitamos
de su vocación”.
Para terminar su homilía, el obispo dijo,
“¡Despertemos al mundo!
Y con el gozo del
llamado que Él ha dado a cada uno de nosotros,
compartamos libremente la luz y todo lo que
hemos recibido.
El mensaje del Obispo Olson destacó el del
Papa Francisco, quien designó 2015 como el Año
de la Vida Consagrada. El Papa animó a las mujeres y hombres consagrados diciendo, “¡Muestren
que seguir a Cristo y practicar su Evangelio llena
de alegría sus corazones!”
Entre los religiosos y religiosas que asistieron, estaba la Hermana Roberta Hesse, de las
Hermanas de Santa María de Namur (SSMN).
Nativa del Norte de Texas, la Hna. Roberta
sirvió 35 años como misionera en África. Ahora reside en el Centro de Nuestra Señora de la
Victoria, al Sur de Fort Worth. Ella dijo, “este
año especial, designado por el Papa, me ha dado
tiempo para reflexionar sobre mi vida y en qué
momento verdaderamente entendí los votos que
hice cuando era muy joven”. La Hna. Roberta,
ahora 80, hizo sus primeros votos hace 54 años.
La Hna. Roberta dijo, “Cuanto más crecemos
en nuestra vocación tanto más amamos a Cristo,
y a Cristo en la gente”.
También entre los asistentes estaba el Hermano Anthony John Mathison, de la Orden de
Predicadores (OP), conocidos comúnmente como
Dominicos. El Hno. Anthony apenas tiene seis
meses en el año del noviciado y recientemente
oyó el llamado de Dios a ser sacerdote.
“Uno puede aprender mucho sobre las
órdenes religiosas en el Internet”, dijo el Hno.
Anthony, “pero cuando uno conoce a uno de los
frailes o sacerdotes o hermanas, es muy diferente.
Es mucho mejor en persona”.
El Hermano Isaiah Marie Hoffman, de los
Frailes Franciscanos de la Renovación (CFR),
dijo que él ve el Año de la Vida Consagrada como
un tiempo para “renovar nuestra propia consagración, fortalecernos en ella, y para redescubrir
nuestros carismas”.
El Padre Tom Stabile, de la Franciscano de
la Tercera Orden Regular (TOR) expresó sentimientos similares. Párroco de la Iglesia de San
Andrés en Fort Worth, el Padre Tom dijo, “La
mayoría de las órdenes religiosas nacieron por
un propósito o necesidad particular. Cambian
los tiempos, cambian las necesidades…pero aún
así, conservamos nuestras raíces”. Él dijo que el
Año de la Vida Consagrada llama a los hombres
y mujeres no sólo a saber más de los orígenes de
sus congregaciones, sino también a preguntarse,
“¿Qué estamos llamados a hacer ahora?”
La Hermana Eva Sánchez, de las Misioneras
Catequistas de los Sagrados Corazones de Jesús
y María (MCSH) dijo que ahora es el tiempo de
salir y activamente inspirar a la juventud a estar
atentos al llamado de Dios. Ella sirve como directora de Educación Religiosa en la Iglesia del
Santo Nombre en Fort Worth.
La Hna. Eva dijo, “El Papa Francisco dice
que debemos ir a ellos en lugar de esperar que
ellos vengan a nosotros. Nosotros somos quienes
debemos dar los pasos para salir”.
Dos estudiantes principiantes en Nolan High
School, Miranda Rivera y Hannah Brennan,
La Hna. Yolanda Cruz, SSMN, Vicecanciller, posa con la Hna. Dorothy
Powers, frente al cartel de su
congregación, Hermanas de Santa
María de Namur.
Las Hermanas Dominicanas Vietnamitas en las
Vísperas — Hna. Cecelia
(Izq.) y Hna. Catherine
fueron las embajadoras del evento del Año de la
Vida Consagrada. Regalaron rosarios, abrieron
puertas, dieron la bienvenida a los asistentes, y
ayudaron de muchas otras maneras.
Hannah dijo que se sintió honrada de servir
a aquellos que han entrado a la vida consagrada.
Miranda asintió, añadiendo que espera que haya
más eventos que incluyan a los hombres y mujeres que han dedicado su vida a servir a Dios.
Cuando supo que las hermanas MCSH estaban
planeando una “sesión a puerta abierta”, ella dijo,
“¡Eso va a ser cool; quiero participar!
Cuando la Hermana Yolanda Cruz, SSMN,
vicecanciller para Servicios Parroquiales y para
Religiosas, supo de la emoción de las estudiantes de Nolan miró hacia el cielo y exclamó “¡Sí,
La Schola Cantorum del Seminario de la Santísima
Trinidad ofreció su talento musical para dar realce a
los himnos y cantos durante las Vísperas el 6 de Feb.
Los Frailes Franciscanos de la Tercera Orden Regular (Izq. a Der.) P. Augustine Lieb, TOR; P. Benedict
Jurchak, TOR; y P. Dave Morrier, TOR, posan frente
su cubículo durante la recepción.
Señor!” Ella dijo al North Texas Catholic “¡Esa
es la clase de acercamiento que queremos tener!”
La Hna. Yolanda, quien coordinó la celebración junto con el padre James Wilcox, Director de
Vocaciones, dijo que muchos hombres y mujeres
jóvenes expresaron interés en las órdenes, retiros
y “sesiones a puerta abierta”.
También estaba complacida por la asistencia
de más de 400 personas.
“Estaba extasiada al ver a toda esa gente”,
dijo la Hna. Yolanda. “Supe que en esto estaba
verdaderamente la mano de Dios. La gente estaba
respondiendo al llamado del Papa a celebrar la
vida consagrada”.
“Esto ha sido una bendición para todos
Los Frailes Franciscanos de la Renovación, P. Pio
Maria Hoffmann, CFR (Izq) y Hno. Thomas McGrinder,
CFR, saludan a sus visitantes durante la recepción.
Congregaciones religiosas femeninas en la Diócesis de Fort Worth
Hermanas de la Caridad del Verbo Encarnado
Orden de las Carmelitas Descalzas (OCD)
Misioneras Catequistas de los Sagrados
Corazones de Jesús y María (MCSH)
Congregación de la Divina Providencia (CDP)
Hermanas de la Sagrada Familia de Nazaret
Hermanas Dominicanas Vietnamitas (OP)
Hermanas Catequistas Guadalupanas (HCG)
Hermanas del Espíritu Santo y María
Inmaculada (SHSp)
Hermanas Benedictinas Olivetanas (OSB)
Hermanas Franciscanas de la Inmaculada
Concepción (HFIC)
La Hna. Patricia González, HCG (Izq.) y la Hna. Diana
Rodríguez, HCG, a cada lado del Obispo Olson en la
recepción, tal como estuvieron en 19 de Nov. 2013
después de que celebró su primera Misa como, recientemente anunciado, obispo electo de la Diócesis de
Fort Worth.
Hermanas de Santa María de Namur (SSMN)
Misioneras Catequistas de la Divina
Providencia MCDP)
Hermanas Educadoras de Notre Dame (SSND)
Congregaciones religiosas masculinas en la Diócesis de Fort Worth
Frailes Franciscanos de la Renovación (CFR)
Sociedad del Apostolado Católico (SAC)
Congregación de la Madre Corredentora (CMC)
Sociedad de Jesús (SJ)
Heraldos de la Buena Nueva (HGN)
Sociedad del Verbo Divino (SVD)
Orden de Frailes Menores / Franciscanos (OFM)
Tercera Orden de San Francisco (TOR)
Orden de Frailes Menores Capuchinos /
Franciscanos (OFM Cap.)
Confraternidad Sacerdotal de Operarios del
Reino de Cristo (CORC)
Orden de Predicadores / Dominicanos (OP)
Recursos en Internet
Para más información sobre las congregaciones religiosas femeninas en la Diócesis de Fort
Worth, visite
Para más información sobre las congregaciones religiosas masculinas,
Vea en YouTube a pocos de los muchos en la
Diócesis de Fort Worth dedicados a servir a
Cristo y su Iglesia:
Las Misioneras Catequistas de los Sagrados Corazones de Jesús
y María están siempre disponibles para Dios
Por Susan Moses
Cada semana en nuestra diócesis, Dios trabaja
por medio de ocho hermanas religiosas que
realizan un moderno milagro de los panes y
pescados. En lugar de alimentar miles de cuerpos hambrientos, estas ocho mujeres nutren las
mentes, espíritus y almas de miles de católicos
Las Misioneras Catequistas de los Sagrados Corazones de Jesús y María se esmeran por
llevar la misericordia y el amor de Jesús a las
familias. Su misión usualmente empieza con
la instrucción religiosa.
Por ejemplo, veamos a la Hna. Eva
Sánchez, MCSH, quien es la directora de
educación religiosa en la Parroquia del Santo
Nombre de Jesús en Fort Worth.
“Todo se deriva de la catequesis”, explica la
Hna. Eva. Uno tiene que entender el amor de
Jesús, entender el Evangelio, y entender que las
enseñanzas de la Iglesia son de la Biblia”.
La parroquia del Santo Nombre acomoda
1,500 estudiantes al ofrecer nueve sesiones de
CCD los fines de semana. Los sábados en la
mañana, uno puede encontrar a la Hna. Eva
saludando a los estudiantes y a sus padres
cuando entran. Cuando empieza cada sesión,
ella visita cada salón, cambiando constantemente del Inglés al Español, queriendo que sus
estudiantes sepan sus oraciones y hablen de su
fe en ambos idiomas. En algunas clases, ella
reúne a los estudiantes para orar; otros, oyen
una lección sobre la Palabra de Dios o sobre
Atrás, de Izq. a Der.:
Hna. Adela Benoit y Hna. Eva
Al frente, de Izq. a Der.:
Hna. Rafaela Landeros, Hna.
Edid Torres, Hna. Midory Wu,
Hna. Aracely Lobatón y Hna.
Rosa María Rodríguez
No está en la foto:
Hna. Yolanda Piñeda
(foto por la Hna. Yolanda
los sacramentos. Ella da las gracias y estimula
a cada catequista y, como torbellino, va a la
siguiente clase.
Aunque la Hna. Eva se enfoca primordialmente en la juventud de la parroquia, también
enseña a los padres de los niños que están
preparándose para los sacramentos, e instruye
a más de 100 catequistas y asistentes que enseñan CCD en el Santo Nombre.
La educación es la meta principal de las
Misioneras Catequistas, pero ellas apoyan a la
parroquia en otras formas también.
“Las Misioneras Catequistas son grandes
colaboradoras, y trabajan con los sacerdotes de
la parroquia para determinar cómo se puede
prestar mejor apoyo pastoral”, dijo la Hna.
Yolanda Cruz, SSMN, Vicecanciller para
Servicios Parroquiales y para Religiosas, y
Directora asociada de vocaciones femeninas.
“Muchas sirven como directoras de educación
religiosa o directoras de ministerios pastorales
Hispanos. En el pasado, dos de ellas sirvieron
como administradoras pastorales en una misión
parroquial predominantemente Hispana y
económicamente limitada, y condujeron la
campaña para construir el nuevo edificio”.
Como Coordinadora del Ministerio Hispano en la Iglesia de San Bartolomé en Fort
Worth, la Hermana Yolanda Piñeda, MCSH
divide su tiempo entre la enseñanza, el ministerio social y el cuidado pastoral.
La Hna. Eva
Sánchez comparte
el amor de Dios
con un clase que
se prepara para la
Primera Comunión
en la Parroquia del
Santo Nombre de
Jesús en el Sur de
Fort Worth (foto
NTC / Susan Moses)
Mecanismos para reportar conducta
sexual inapropiada
Si usted o alguien que conozca es víctima de
conducta sexual inapropiada por parte de
cualquier persona que trabaje para la iglesia,
sea voluntario, empleado, o miembro del clero,
puede reportarlo de las siguientes maneras:
■ llamar a Judy Locke, Coordinadora de asistencia para víctimas, al número (817) 945-9340
o, mandarle un correo electrónico a jlocke@
■ llamar al número de emergencia para el abuso
sexual: (817) 817-945-9345
Mecanismo para reportar abuso
Llamar al Departamento de servicios para la
familia y de protección del estado de Texas
(Servicios de protección al menor) al número:
(800) 252-5400.
La Hna. Yolanda Piñeda dice que compartir el
Evangelio con los necesitados es su fuente de
alegría. (foto NTC / Susan Moses)
La Hna. Yolanda literalmente tiene la
última palabra acerca de la despensa parroquial
de San Vicente de Paul. Cuando las personas
se van con sus víveres, ella les ofrece pan y
verdura o fruta fresca si la hay. Después reza
con ellas, les sonríe amablemente y las exhorta
a “llevar a su familia a la Iglesia” o a “Orar con
sus niños”.
Desde que llegó a la parroquia en 2011,
ella ha estado visitando los hogares de las
familias para evaluar sus necesidades y ofrecer
ayuda adecuada. Conduce un estudio de
Biblia en Español y asiste a muchas otras clases
y reuniones, tanto en Inglés como en Español.
Ella también celebra servicios de Comunión en
los hogares para ancianos.
“Estamos aquí para todos. Todos somos
uno, todos somos criaturas de Dios unidas y
tratando de vivir la Palabra de Dios”, dijo la
Hna. Yolanda.
El Padre Jack McKone, párroco de la
Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón en Wichita Falls,
reconoce que la unidad puede ser difícil. “Un
reto palpable al servir a los Latinos es que ellos
no tienen una cultura homogénea. Muchos
tienen apellidos Hispanos, pero no hablan Español, otros hablan muy poco Inglés y, la gran
mayoría está en la mitad”.
Las Misioneras Catequistas se ven a sí
mismas como un puente para ayudar a los inmigrantes a adaptarse a este país. “Las familias
Hispanas necesitan mantener su fe, sus valores
familiares, y continuar educándose para que
puedan enriquecer la cultura americana. Queremos unir a la gente, no dividir las comunidades”, dijo la Hna. Eva.
Para promover la unidad dentro de la comunidad Hispana en Wichita Falls, la hermana Adela Benoit, MCSH y la hermana Rafaela
Landeros, MCSH, prepararon una liturgia
que dio relieve a la Fiesta de Nuestra Señora
de Guadalupe. Las hermanas empezaron con
un guión acerca de la Virgen de Guadalupe y
San Juan Diego. Los feligreses y los jóvenes
aprovecharon la oportunidad de ayudar a las
hermanas a escenificar la obra.
“Pronto vimos que todo el proceso de
producir la liturgia, con la obra como parte de
la homilía, fue un medio catequético para los
jóvenes”, dijo el Padre McKone. “Los niños
verdaderamente entendieron la historia de la
Virgen y el indio pobre y la construcción de la
iglesia dedicada a nuestra Santísima Madre que
se volvió el centro de atención para evangelizar
a todo un país. Las hermanas unieron a la parroquia para lograr esto”.
Las hermanas también trabajaron con
el Padre Richard Kirkham para producir la
misma obra en San Judas Tadeo en Burkburnett. Aunque apenas llegaron a Wichita Falls
en el otoño de 2014, ellas han impactado al
deanato del Noroeste con catequesis, consejería pastoral y visitas a la gente en sus hogares
desde Wichita Falls hasta Chillicothe.
Las MCSH vinieron primero a la diócesis
el 8 de octubre de 1960, cuando tres hermanas
llegaron a servir al Inmaculado Corazón de
María, la Catedral de San Patricio y San Mateo—misión asociada a San Patricio. Actualmente las hermanas sirven en ocho parroquias:
Sagrado Corazón y Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe en Wichita Falls; Santo Nombre de Jesús,
Inmaculado Corazón de María, el Apóstol San
Pablo y San Bartolomé en Fort Worth; San
Francisco de Asís en Grapevine, y el Apóstol
San Juan en North Richland Hills.
La Madre Sofía Garduño, una maestra,
fundó la orden en la ciudad de México en
1918, época de persecución religiosa. Actualmente 140 hermanas sirven en México,
España, África y los E. U.
Aunque ocho hermanas han incrementado grandemente el ámbito de la educación
religiosa y el cuidado pastoral a los Latinos en
nuestra diócesis, la Hna. Yolanda dijo que con
su tiempo y número limitados, no pueden ellas
servir a cada una de las personas que necesitan
Aún así, las Misioneras Catequistas tienen
una gran influencia en los 350,000 católicos
Hispanos en la diócesis. Los párrocos respetan
las contribuciones que ellas hacen a la comunidad Hispana, y un feligrés de la parroquia
de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe habló entre
lágrimas del gozo que sintió cuando vio a las
hermanas de nuevo en su parroquia.
La Hna. Eva dijo, “Nos encuentran en
medio de la gente. Estamos en CCD y en
Misa, también asistiendo a los funerales, yendo
a los hogares para ancianos. Para Dios siempre
estamos disponibles.
Misioneras Catequistas de los Sagrados Corazones de Jesús
y María que sirven en la Diócesis de Fort Worth
Hna. Adela Benoit, MCSH
Formación para el Ministerio Hispano; Parroquia
del Sagrado Corazón, Wichita Falls
Hna. Araceli Lobatón, MCSH
Directora del Ministerio Hispano; Parroquia
del Apóstol San Juan, North Richland Hills
Hna. Edid Torres, MCSH
Ministerio Pastoral Hispano; Parroquia de San
Pablo, Fort Worth
Hna. Rosa María Rodríguez, MCSH
Directora del Ministerio Pastoral Hispano; Parroquia de San Francisco de Asís, Grapevine
Hna. Yolanda Piñeda, MCSH
Ministerio Pastoral; Parroquia de San Bartolomé,
Fort Worth
Hna. Midory Wu, MCSH
Formación Juvenil; Parroquia del Inmaculado
Corazón de María, Fort Worth
Hna. Rafaela Landeros, MCSH
Directora del Ministerio Hispano; Parroquia de
Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Wichita Falls
Hna. Eva Sánchez, MCSH
Directora de Educación Religiosa; Parroquia del
Santo Nombre de Jesús, Fort Worth
Para saber más acerca de las Misioneras Catequistas,
Los sacerdotes de la Sociedad del Apostolado Católico (SAC) siguen
los pasos de su fascinante fundador, San Vicente Pallotti
El Padre Balaji Boyalla (SAC)
(Izq.) actual párroco de la
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora
de Lourdes en Mineral Wells
y el Padre John Casey (SAC)
párroco retirado de la Iglesia
de San Esteban en Weatherford
caminan por el pasillo que
va a la sala de exhibiciones
del Centro de Convenciones
de Dallas cuando asistieron a
la Conferencia de Ministerios
de la Universidad de Dallas
en 2009. (foto de NTC/Juan
ada católico de la Iglesia de Jesucristo
debe regocijarse porque, como sacerdote,
religioso o laico, puede utilizar su talento,
conocimiento, aprendizaje, poder, posición,
profesión, palabras, bienes terrenales o, por
lo menos, sus oraciones, para hacer lo que sea
posible para reafirmar la fe de Jesucristo, reavivar la caridad entre los católicos y propagarla
en el mundo entero.
— San Vicente Pallotti, Fundador de la
Sociedad del Apostolado Católico
Por Jerry Circelli
Para entender verdaderamente a los sacerdotes “Palotinos” de la Sociedad del
Apostolado Católico (SAC) que sirven
en la Diócesis de Fort Worth, los fieles de
la Iglesia local deberían volver la vista hacia la
primera parte del siglo XIX cuando la Iglesia
Católica era perseguida en Roma, y a un jovencito llamado Vicente Pallotti que discernía su
En 1811, a los 16 años, Palloti sintió el llamado de Dios a entrar en la vida religiosa—decision políticamente incorrecta en ese entonces.
Dos años antes, Francia había hecho prisionero
al Papa Pío VII y Napoleón Bonaparte lo mantenía en el exilio.
Diez años antes el Papa Pío V murió cautivo de los Franceses después de la ocupación
de Roma.
Sin inmutarse, Pallotti siguió su llamado y
fue ordenado en 1818.
El ser testigo de la persecución de la Iglesia
de Cristo le dio a Pallotti la determinación
para permanecer firme con Cristo, y proclamar
valientemente, “!Cada católico es un apóstol!”
Su deseo de unir el clero con los laicos
para proclamar la Palabra de Dios, lo impulsó
a formar la Sociedad del Apostolado Católico.
Hoy, esta comunidad internacional de
sacerdotes y hermanos cuenta con 2,300
miembros viviendo en más de 300 comunidades en 40 países. Las provincias que sirven en
la diócesis tienen su base en Dublin, Irlanda y
en Karnataka, India.
Prueba de las décadas de servicio de los
sacerdotes Palotinos en la Diócesis de Fort
Worth, la podemos encontrar en la Iglesia
de Nuestra Señora de Lourdes en Mineral
Wells. En diciembre último, la iglesia terminó
un nuevo centro comunitario de 3,000 pies
cuadrados llamada “Sala San Vicente Pallotti”.
Este nombre honra al hombre que estableció la
SAC en 1835 e inspiró una larga línea de sacerdotes Palotinos a servir a los fieles de Nuestra
Señora de Lourdes desde 1953.
El más reciente, el Padre Balaji Boyalla
(SAC), fue nombrado párroco de Nuestra
Señora de Lourdes en 2010, después de haber
servido dos años en la parroquia de la Sagrada
Familia en Fort Worth. “Sala San Vicente
Palloti es un nombre muy apropiado a esta
parroquia”, dijo el sacerdote que viene de la
provincia SAC en Karnataka, India.
“Los sacerdotes Palotinos han servido aquí
por muchos años”, dijo el Padre Boyalla, pero
la gente realmente nunca oyó el nombre de San
Vicente Pallotti ni sabía nada de él. Ahora,
ojalá, la gente empezará a saber quién fue
Vicente Palloti y cuál fue su contribución a la
Iglesia. “Él es un santo de esta época que por
su carisma le llega a la gente.
“La gente debería saber que Vicente Pallotti es un santo especial porque es el santo de los
laicos. Él es el precursor de la idea de que los
laicos participen más activamente en la Iglesia”.
El Padre John Casey (SAC), párroco de la
Iglesia de San Esteban en Weatherford, está de
acuerdo con la apreciación del Padre Boyalla.
“Vicente Pallotti se adelantó 100 años a
su tiempo”, dijo el Padre Casey. “Él tenía la
visión de que en el apostolado deberían participar no sólo los sacerdotes y obispos, sino
El Obispo Olson
consagró la Sala
Pallotti en la Iglesia
de Nuestra Señora de
Lourdes en Mineral
Wells. Acertadamente
la sala lleva el
nombre del fundador
de la Sociedad del
Apostolado Católico.
(foto cortesía de la
Iglesia de Nuestra
Señora de Lourdes)
también todos los bautizados”.
El Segundo Concilio Vaticano, que se
ocupó de la relación entre la Iglesia y el mundo
moderno con énfasis en la inclusion del laicado, tuvo lugar 112 años después de la muerte
de San Vicente Pallotti.
“Todos los bautizados deberían tener la
oportunidad de trabajar en la viña del Señor”,
dijo el Padre Casey.
Sacerdote Palotino de la provincia Irlandesa de la Orden, el Padre Casey sirvió a la Iglesia
en Argentina y en Inglaterra antes de llegar a la
Diócesis de Amarillo en 1977.
Dedicándose de lleno al Español durante
sus seis años en Sudamérica, el sacerdote misionero habla el idioma con fluidez.
El Padre Casey ríe al recordar el momento,
hace más de 30 años, cuando el Obispo Lawrence Michael De Falco—pastor de la Diócesis de
Amarillo en ese entonces—lo oyó conversando
un largo tiempo en Español con un feligrés.
“Él se quedó sorprendido que este Irlandés
pudiera entender y hablar Español”, dijo el Padre Casey. “recuerdo que puso su mano en mi
hombro y dijo, ´en Texas siempre habrá trabajo
para ti´”.
Las palabras del Obispo fueron proféticas,
ya que el sacerdote Palotino Irlandés permanence desde entonces en el Estado de la Estrella Solitaria, sirviendo por 24 años en las Diócesis de
Amarillo y Lubbock, y 14 años en la Diócesis de
Fort Worth en San Esteban. Él es el onceavo sacerdote, que sirve como párroco en San Esteban,
en una larga e ininterrumpida línea de Palotinos
que, en esa parroquia, se remonta a 1953.
El Padre Casey da crédito a su sociedad
misionera por haberle dado la oportunidad de
servir al pueblo de Dios en diferentes idiomas.
El Padre Thomas D’Souza (SAC), párroco
de la comunidad católica de los condados
Jack y Wise, que incluyen las parroquias de
San Juan Bautista en Bridgeport, Santa María
en Jacksboro, y Asunción de la Bienaventurada Virgen María en Decatur, también está
agradecido por su formación como sacerdote
misionero Palotino.
“Toda mi formación y quién soy actualmente, se lo debe totalmente a ellos, a la Sociedad Apostólica”, dijo el Padre D´Souza
Proveniente de la provincia Palotina de
Karnataka en India, el Padre D´Souza dijo que
su trabajo como director de escuela y como
sacerdote en una parroquia, sirviendo a los más
pobres entre los pobres en el Norte de la India,
fue desafiante pero satisfactorio.
“Salí de ahí muy fortalecido en mi vocación y en mi misión”, dijo el Padre D´Souza.
Fuerte también en su vocación y misión
por el extenso trabajo misionero está el Padre
Matthew Sanka (SAC), quien sirve en las
Iglesias de San Brendan en Stephenville y San
Esteban en Weatherford. Ordenado en 2002
en Tanzanía, nación al Este de África, el Padre
Sanka fue influenciado grandemente por los
sacerdotes Palotinos que servían en su diócesis.
Miembro ahora de la misma provincia Irlandesa que aquellos sacerdotes, el Padre Sanka sirvió a la Iglesia en Tanzanía, Kenya, e Irlanda,
y cursó estudios avanzados en Roma antes de
venir a la Diócesis de Fort Worth en 2013.
El Padre John Casey (SAC),retirado, fue el onceavo
sacerdote que sirve como párroco en San Esteban,
en una larga e ininterrumpida línea de Palotinos
que, en esa parroquia, se remonta a 1953. (foto de
Jerry Circelli)
Al igual que los otros seis Palotinos que
sirven la diócesis, el Padre Sanka agradece el
espíritu y la misión que caracteriza a la SAC.
“El carisma y misión de nosotros los Palotinos es trabajar junto con los laicos”, dijo el
Padre Sanka. “Este Año de la Vida Consagrada nos da la oportunidad de renovar nuestro
compromiso y reafirmarlo en la oración”.
Sociedad del Apostolado Católico, Palotinos (SAC), que sirven en la Diócesis de Fort Worth
Padre Reehan Soosai Antony
Vicario parroquial: San Juán Bautista en
Bridgeport, Santa María en Jacksboro,
Asunción de la Santísima Virgen María en
SAC Provincia de la Asunción de la Santísima
Virgen María; Karnataka, India
Padre Balaji Boyalla
Párroco: Nuestra Señora de Lourdes in
Mineral Wells; San Francisco de Asís en
SAC Provincia de la Asunción de la Santísima
Virgen María; Karnataka, India
Padre John Casey
Párroco, retirado: San Esteban en Weatherford
SAC Provincia Irlandesa; Dublin, Irlanda
Padre Thomas D’Souza
Párroco:San Juán Bautista en Bridgeport,
Santa María en Jacksboro, Asunción de la
Santísima Virgen María en Decatur
SAC Provincia de la Asunción de la Santísima
Virgen María; Karnataka, India
Padre John Karanja
Administrador: San Esteban en Weatherford
SAC Provincia Irlandesa; Dublin, Irlanda
Padre Philip McNamara
Administrador parroquial, retirado: Nuestra
Señora de Guadalupe en De Leon, Sagrado
Coracón en Comanche, San Brendan en
Stephenville, Santa María en Dublin
SAC Provincia Irlandesa; Dublin, Ireland
Padre Matthew Sanka
Administrador parroquial: San Brendan en
SAC Provincia Irlandesa; Dublin, Ireland
Más información sobre
la Sociedad del Apostolado Católico:
El ayuno Cuaresmal:
Actos de la solidaridad
con Jesús
El Padre Carmelo Mele, de la Orden de
predicadores (los dominicos), ordenado como
sacerdote en 1980, es el director del Instituto
Juan Pablo II y de la Catequesis para adultos
hispanos de la Diócesis de Fort Worth.
Por el Carmelo Mele, O.P.
Una pareja que participó en nuestro
programa de formación de ministros
laicos experimentaba una crisis. La esposa
enfermó con cáncer. Ella tuvo que soportar
la quimioterapia con la pérdida de pelo como
resultado secundario. Durante el transcurso
de sus tratamientos se vio a su marido con su
cabeza completamente afeitada. Evidentemente él quería sufrir junto con su querida las
miradas de temor y condescendencia de otras
personas. Fue un acto de la solidaridad de
amor más elocuente que el regalo de dos docenas de rosas.
R esolviendo un dilema
Con la prosperidad de este país a veces
no sabemos cómo expresar nuestro aprecio por los demás. ¿Qué podemos hacer
por aquellos que parecen tener todo? Esto
es semejante al dilema de mostrar nuestro
amor para Jesús. ¿Cómo podríamos expresar
nuestro agradecimiento a él, ya resucitado de
la muerte? Sí, siempre podemos decirle “gracias” en la oración, y deberíamos honrar su
instrucción de que hagamos obras de caridad
por los más pequeños porque representan a
él. No obstante, conscientes que dio su vida
para salvar a cada uno de nosotros, queremos
hacerle algo más personal. Como el hombre
que escogió sufrir en solidaridad con su esposa, nosotros podríamos hacer un sacrificio
por Jesús. Realmente esto es el motivo detrás
de la penitencia cuaresmal. Hacemos sacrificios para decirle a nuestro salvador divino,
“Te amo”.
Las palabras ayuno y abstinencia ahora
significan en el entendimiento común la misma cosa: el privarse de satisfacer apetitos. La
Iglesia habla de la abstinencia como dejar de
comer un tipo específico de comestible como
la carne de animales terrenales en los viernes
de la Cuaresma. Igualmente, ella se refiere al
ayuno como no comer nada por un tiempo
definido, por ejemplo las horas entre las tres
comidas en el Miércoles de Ceniza y el Viernes
Santo. ¿Por qué queremos mostrar nuestro
afecto a Jesús con sacrificios de abstinencia y
ayuno particularmente durante la Cuaresma?
Se puede tomar la respuesta directamente del
evangelio: porque él pasó cuarenta días en ayuno y, aún más severo, sufrió seis horas, según
la narrativa de San Marcos, colgado en la cruz.
Dejar de tomar alguna cosa que apetecemos
muestra nuestro deseo de corazón a acompañar
a él en el sacrificio.
¿Qué comprende un sacrificio significativo?
Una persona declaraba que iba a dejar
de beber vino blanco durante la Cuaresma.
Aunque puede ser para él un ofrecimiento
duro, no parecerá a muchos como un sacrificio
significativo. En nuestra cultura, donde existen tantas alternativas a cualquier placer que
hay, dejar de tomar un género de vino o un
tipo de postre no representa gran sacrificio. En
lugar de abstenerse de vino blanco, parece más
demostrativo del amor dejar de tomar todas
las bebidas alcohólicas. Asimismo, en lugar de
dejar de comer pasteles, qué nos refrenemos de
comer todos los dulces.
A veces cuando hacemos sacrificios como
el ayuno cuaresmal, nos preguntamos si nues-
tros motivos son puros. Pues, a lo mejor dejar
de consumir alcohol y tomar dulces mejorarán
la salud, por decir nada de la apariencia. Para
probar si ayunamos por amor propio y no por
amor al Señor, podemos interrogarnos: “¿Haría
yo el ayuno si no estuviéramos en este tiempo
sagrado?” Si nuestra respuesta es “no”, estamos
bien. Si es “sí”, tal vez querríamos hacer algo
por añadidura particularmente por Jesús.
Queremos recordar también cómo casi siempre
los actos humanos tienen efectos secundarios. Si el acto no es malo en sí y si los efectos
secundarios son buenos o, al menos, no son
proporcionalmente peores que el efecto bueno
intencionado, ellos no destruyen la bondad del
acto. Al contrario, si nuestro ayuno cuaresmal
resulta también en el mejor cuidado de nuestros cuerpos, se aumenta su valor.
Dos pensamientos concluyentes
Una vez, los catequistas de una parroquia
tenían una reunión después de la misa del
Miércoles de Ceniza. Con intenciones buenas
la directora del grupo llevó capirotada a la
junta. El párroco sólo podía sacudir su cabeza.
De todos los fieles, la directora debería haber
conocido las directivas de la Iglesia sobre el
ayuno cuaresmal. De verdad, a veces parece
difícil tener este conocimiento con cada persona contribuyendo su opinión sobre lo que las
reglas deberían ser. Se debe decir dos cosas.
En primer lugar, los sacrificios comunes determinados por la Iglesia son mínimos y deben
ser cumplidos. En segundo lugar, son dignos
otros actos de solidaridad para mostrarle a
Jesús el amor.
Network (EWTN), based in Irondale, Alabama.
The station’s inaugural
broadcast took place Dec. 8,
on the Feast of the Immaculate
Conception of the Blessed Virgin
Mary. The Mass that evening
was carried live on KYRE – FM
104.1, including a dedication and
consecration of the station by
Bishop Michael Olson.
At the start of Mass, the
bishop walked directly through a
door to the side of the altar and
back to the sacristy. The station
office — consisting of a small
radio, computer, and a few other
pieces of electronic equipment —
is located there.
The bishop stepped up to
the microphone, announced the
KYRE call letters and welcomed
listeners to the inaugural broadcast. He asked God to “look with
favor on your servants who use
the technology discovered by long
research, enable them to communicate truth, to foster love,
to uphold justice and right, and
to provide enjoyment. Let them
promote and support that peace
between people that Christ the
Lord brought from heaven.”
During the dedication, Bishop Olson said that technological
advancements, if used properly,
can spread and build up the Kingdom of God.
Above: Bishop Michael Olson gave the inaugural broadcast of St. Jude Church’s new radio station KYRE –104.1 FM. The
bishop consecrated the station before a Mass on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary on
Dec. 8. (Photo by Jerry Circelli)
Fr. Foley said he was thankful for the support of Bishop
Olson for St. Jude’s new radio
station and for taking the time
to dedicate it. He also said it was
significant that the launch of the
station took place on the Feast of
the Immaculate Conception.
“We hope that Our Lady,
through her intercession and
through her goodness to the children of God, will bring about the
conversion of many people,” Fr.
Foley said.
The priest also said it is his
desire that everyone in the station’s
listening area — including those
struggling with depression, loneliness, and sickness — finds comfort
in the Catholic broadcasts. “God’s
graces will be there all the time,
bringing people the messages He
wants them to receive at the right
time,” Fr. Foley said.
Left: Fr. George Foley atop St. Jude
Church during the completion of
construction in early 2014. The cross
would later serve as the broadcast
tower spreading the Gospel to the
masses in the listening area. (Photo
courtesy of St. Jude Church)
“We hope and pray that FM
104.1, St. Jude Catholic Radio,
will be a blessing to the Parish of
St. Jude, to our community, and
to others bordering our community who are able to receive our
signal,” Fr. Foley said.
Those involved with KYRE
– 104.1 FM at St. Jude’s said they
are energized to be a part of the
new radio ministry.
Bill Tillotson, an aerospace
engineer, served on the church’s
building committee and is now
involved with the radio station.
He said Fr. Foley has constantly
offered innovative ideas, and the
radio station is among the latest.
“He’s very forward thinking,” Tillotson said.
“When I heard he got the
church’s radio license approved
through the FCC, I was amazed.
It was the first I’d heard of it and
I got involved right away.”
Joe Kowalski, a student at
Tarrant County College with
a strong interest in radio, also
stepped forward quickly. He had
heard, accurately, that Fr. Foley
started a radio station at Sacred
Heart of Jesus Parish in Brecken-
ridge several years ago. “When I
learned of that,” Kowalski said,
“I asked him, ‘Are we going to
get one here?’ And I remember he
said, ‘That’s the plan.’
“Now, here we are up and
running,” said Kowalski while assisting at the inaugural broadcast.
“Being able to start something
like this at our church in Mansfield is pretty awesome.”
Steven Bartolotta, an engineer
who sets up remote broadcasts of
football and basketball games for
the University of North Texas, also
assisted on the live broadcast with
Kowalski and Tillotson.
Bartolotta said, “Fr. Foley
is very creative in getting people
more involved, and the station is
another way to do that. It’s a way
to get people more involved in the
parish, to get people more involved
in the community, and ultimately
to get them more involved in the
outreach of the Church.”
Bishop Olson offered his
own assessment of the innovative
parish priest, stating, “He’s an
For more on this story, visit http://
On the Air
Fr. George Foley launches St. Jude Catholic Radio in Mansfield and the surrounding area
Jerry Circelli / Correspondent
Fr. George Foley, already with a
track record of success establishing
a radio station at Sacred Heart
of Jesus Church in Breckenridge
several years ago, established KYRE
– 104.1 FM at St. Jude Church
in Mansfield on Dec. 8.
Photo by Jerry Circelli)
A s they constructed the pinnacle of the new St. Jude Parish
in M ansfield, workmen carefully
tethered Father George Foley to
a wooden cross rising more than
85 feet atop the structure’s highest
The 80-year-old priest, possessing boundless energy and
endless ideas, rose to the occasion
not so much for a bird’s-eye view
from the roof over the church, but
with a future project in mind. Fr.
Foley was quietly contemplating
using the cross to support a radio
antenna that could bring the Gospel to 90,000 people in a 25-mile
radius of the church.
In early 2014, with one
monumental challenge nearly
complete — construction of a
2,700-square-foot church to
accommodate 2,000 people —
Fr. Foley turned his attention
to building a radio station. The
priest had already submitted
an application to the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC), and asked God to
guide the paperwork through
the highly competitive process
of obtaining a license from the
bureaucratic body.
By April 2014, God answered Fr. Foley’s prayers, and
St. Jude Catholic Church was
licensed to broadcast as KYRE
– 104.1 FM. The priest chose
the call letters for the low-power
(LP) FM station as an abbreviated version of “Kyrie eleison”
— meaning “God have mercy.”
Days after receiving the license,
Fr. Foley announced from the pulpit
that the church now had a station
and asked for help. In short order, 10
people stepped forward, and a radio
ministry was formed at St. Jude.
“I have 800 volunteers in this
parish,” Fr. Foley said. “We have no
shortage of volunteers here. When I
announced the project, these people
told me they were ready and willing
to put their time, talent, energy, and
intelligence to work on it. Some of
them work in the radio business.”
With their help, the antenna
Fr. Foley had imagined became a
“We’re preaching from the
sign of Christianity,” Fr. Foley said.
“This antenna cable is wrapped
around the cross on the top of the
church. The signal is going out
and doing what Jesus asked us to
do — to go out and preach the
Gospel to every creature, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit.”
Fr. Foley continued, “So, you
know, Christ has his arms enfolded around the church, and the
antenna cable is wrapped around
the cross on top of it.”
The priest said much of the
local programming is still being
planned, and when the church
itself is not generating a broadcast, it is relaying programming
24 hours a day, seven days a week,
from the Eternal Word Television
A copy of the certificate indicating
St. Jude’s membership in the Catholic Radio Association.
NTC / Jerry Circelli

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